Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Chris Womack will take over leadership of the utility’s parent, Southern Co., later this year, Atlanta-based Southern announced Thursday.

Womack, 64, will succeed Tom Fanning, Southern’s current chairman, president, and CEO, at the end of March following Southern’s annual stockholders meeting. Fanning, 65, will become executive chairman of Southern’s Board of Directors.

“Tom has guided Southern Company through a period of significant change,” said David Grain, Southern’s lead independent director. “Under his oversight, Southern Company has delivered substantial value to stockholders and increased the dividend annually, while safeguarding the interests of employees, the communities in which the system operates and the entire spectrum of the company’s stakeholders.”

Womack has led Georgia Power for nearly two years, since the retirement of Paul Bowers, the utility’s former chairman, president, and CEO. Before that, Womack was executive vice president and president of external affairs at Southern Co.

The Greenville, Ala., native began his career with Southern in 1988.

“Chris’ leadership, vision and integrity during his career with Southern Company have uniquely prepared him to guide Southern Company into a new era,” Fanning said. “With our recent progress at Plant Vogtle and continued conversion of our operations towards net-zero emissions, I believe that now is an ideal time to transition to new leadership.”

Womack is preparing to take the reins at Southern Company as Georgia Power works to bring into service the first of two new nuclear reactors being built at Plant Vogtle south of Augusta. The unit is scheduled to begin operations in March after years of delays and cost overruns.

The Vogtle reactors are the first new nuclear units to be built in the United States in more than 30 years.

“It is an important time in our industry as the energy landscape continues to rapidly evolve and customers’ needs continue to change,” Womack said. “Southern Company is at the forefront of that evolution.”

Womack will be succeeded at Georgia Power by Kim Greene, 56, currently chairman, president, and CEO of Southern subsidiary Southern Company Gas.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams | Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.