January 15, 2020

Southwest Power Pool board names Barbara Sugg as new president and CEO

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) board of directors announced Jan. 15 that it has unanimously selected Barbara Sugg to serve as the organization’s new president and CEO effective later this year. Sugg is currently SPP’s senior vice president of information technology and chief security officer.

Sugg will replace Nick Brown, who joined SPP in 1985 and has served as president and CEO since 2003. Brown announced plans last July to retire in 2020. The board’s announcement follows a months-long, comprehensive national search and selection process. Management consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates identified and vetted internal and external candidates whom were then interviewed extensively by a selection committee consisting of board members and Brown. The entire board of directors interviewed the top finalists and accepted the selection committee’s recommendation, voting unanimously to name Sugg as president and CEO.

“We are excited to welcome Barbara to lead the SPP organization. On behalf of the board and selection committee, I’m proud we were able to choose from among a slate of world-class candidates. The board believes Barbara is well-suited to continue to strengthen SPP’s foundational attributes while recognizing the need and opportunity to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. She is equipped to develop, build and strengthen the relationships that are increasingly critical to the sustained success of our organization, and particularly those with our members and regulators. We look forward to seeing Barbara lead the organization in establishing itself as the premier RTO in providing comprehensive value in a rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain industry landscape,” said Larry Altenbaumer, chair of SPP’s board of directors.

As Sugg takes over leadership of SPP, the company is in the midst of expanding its Western Energy Services offerings in the Western Interconnection and is working to implement a number of interrelated enhancements to its markets, transmission-planning functions, and tariff that grew out of the recent Holistic Integrated Tariff Team effort.

“This particular chapter in SPP’s ongoing evolution is ripe with both opportunity and challenge. It’s been my privilege to oversee SPP’s transition from a small entrepreneurial organization to the going concern it is today. As our industry and the very nature of electricity-use in the U.S. continues to change, SPP will have an ever-increasing role to play in ensuring the reliability and affordability of electric power. I’m excited to watch Barbara and the organization take on these challenges,” said Brown.

As SPP’s senior vice president of IT and chief security officer, Sugg directs the development, architecture, implementation, monitoring, support, security and telecommunications services provided by SPP to its members and customers. She is responsible for establishing IT strategy and policies and developing the IT leadership team. The department has 165 employees.

Sugg has 30 years of IT experience in the electric utility industry. She joined SPP in 1997 as a senior IT specialist, focused on application development and maintenance for computer systems in support of tariff administration, reliability coordination and regional energy scheduling. She has been a member of the SPP management team since 1999 and became vice president of information technology in 2010 and chief security officer in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1986 and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2013.

Sugg serves as staff secretary facilitating SPP’s Strategic Planning Committee and recently helped facilitate SPP’s Value and Affordability Taskforce. She participates in numerous industry and non-industry committees and community and philanthropic boards. In 2018, Barbara founded the Leadership Foundation for Women, a non-profit focused on equipping women for success, based in Little Rock, Ark. She is married and has two children and one grandchild.

“I am both honored and humbled to have been selected by SPP’s board of directors and have enjoyed working closely with them for nearly two decades. I look forward to serving in this role and engaging with the SPP board, our diverse stakeholder community and our amazing employees in Little Rock. SPP’s long-term success is my highest priority,” said Sugg.

The board will work with Sugg and Brown over the next few weeks to develop a specific transition plan.

About SPP:  Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.

Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393, msever@spp.org