Politics & Government

SCANA CEO retires, can collect millions in severance as part of Dominion buyout

Dominion buys out SCANA: How we got here

Since the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project was abandoned, SC lawmakers and agencies have tried to keep SCE&G and parent company SCANA from overcharging power customers for the failed project. Here is a summary of what has happened.
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Since the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project was abandoned, SC lawmakers and agencies have tried to keep SCE&G and parent company SCANA from overcharging power customers for the failed project. Here is a summary of what has happened.

A year ago, SCANA chief executive Jimmy Addison stood beside Dominion CEO Tom Farrell as the pair announced their companies were combining.

Today, as Dominion completes its takeover of Cayce-based SCANA, Addison is on the way out.

Dominion announced Addison’s retirement — and his replacement, Dominion senior vice president and chief information officer Rodney Blevins — in a news release Wednesday. Addison, 58, will stay on and advise Blevins over the next month before retiring Feb. 1 — one of several executive departures announced Wednesday.

“Jimmy Addison is well-respected throughout the energy and utilities sector,” Farrell said. “I sincerely thank him for his leadership during the challenging times of the past 18 months. Jimmy has had an outstanding career at SCANA, and we wish him well in retirement.”

Addison could receive nearly $9.4 million in compensation tied to his departure, according to his contract with SCANA. About $3.8 million of that is deferred pay Addison has already earned, according to a SCANA filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The rest is based on a complex formula that multiplies his base salary and short-term bonuses by 2.5 and factors in his benefits and ownership of SCANA stock.

That money will be paid by Dominion shareholders, after SCANA controversially set aside a $110 million trust to pay executives’ severance packages. That trust now will be turned over to SCANA’s electric customers and more than a dozen attorneys who sued SCANA after the company charged its 730,000 electric ratepayers more than $2 billion to build a nuclear power plant it never finished.

Addison is eligible for the severance payout even though SCANA shareholders voted to reject such so-called “golden parachutes” in a non-binding vote in July.

“SCANA is contractually obligated to pay certain severance benefits to key executives whose jobs are eliminated in conjunction with a change in control of the company,” SCANA spokeswoman Rhonda O’Banion wrote in an email. “These types of severance plans are commonly used to encourage key executives to remain with the company through a merger process.”

Addison, who spent 27 years at SCANA, is among the first employees to depart as Dominion begins its takeover of the Cayce-based power company.

Other SCANA executives retiring are:

Jeff Archie, SCANA senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. He will work in an advisory role until he retires on April 1. He can receive nearly $6.2 million in severance pay, according to SCANA’s federal filing.

Sarena Burch, senior vice president for risk management and corporate compliance. She retires Feb. 1.

Kenny Jackson, senior vice president for economic development and SCANA’s in-house lobbyist. He retires Feb. 1.

Henry Barton, vice president for government affairs, another in-house lobbyist. He retires Feb. 1.

Gina Champion, vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary. She retires Feb. 1.

Cathy Love, vice president for marketing and communications. She retires Feb. 1.

Dominion has said it doesn’t know how many more will follow but expects job reductions in white-collar positions such as human resources, customer service or accounting. The Richmond-based company has said it will pay all of SCANA’s employees through July 1, 2020, even if they are dismissed.

With the takeover, SCANA’s name will be changed to Southeast Energy Group.

A handful of SCANA executives will have similar roles in the new company.

Former SCANA chief operating officer Keller Kissam was named president of the new subsidiary’s electric operations, meaning he will remain in charge of SCE&G’s non-nuclear generation, transmission and distribution operations.

Rusty Harris, who managed SCANA’s gas operations, will keep that job at the Southeast Energy Group. He will remain responsible for SCE&G’s natural gas operations and for two SCANA gas subsidiaries: PSNC Energy in North Carolina and SCANA Energy in Georgia.

Former SCANA chief financial officer Iris Griffin was named Southeast Energy Group’s vice president for Financial Management and Integration.

Former SCANA general counsel Jim Stuckey will be Southeast Energy Group’s general counsel. He also has been appointed deputy general counsel for Dominion Energy.

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Avery G. Wilks is The State’s senior S.C. State House and politics reporter. He is currently filling in as an editor of The State’s award-winning State House team. He was named the 2018 S.C. Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. He grew up in Chester, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s top-ranked Honors College in 2015.


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