FirstEnergy names replacement
for retiring nuclear operations boss
Robert F. Saunders, president and chief nuclear officer of
FirstEnergy's Nuclear Operating Company subsidiary, plans to retire
Feb. 1, 2004.
FENOC executive vice president Gary R. Leidich will become
president and chief nuclear officer, effective Sept. 1.
Until his retirement, Saunders will continue to work closely with
Leidich to ensure a smooth transition, and to assist in the
Davis-Besse restoration and related oversight activities.
Saunders, 60, joined FirstEnergy in February 2000, after nearly
30 years in the nuclear power industry. Prior to joining the
company, he served as vice president of Nuclear Site Operations at
Pennsylvania Power and Light's Susquehanna Nuclear Site.
As a U.S. Navy veteran, Saunders joined Virginia Power in 1975 as
an engineer at the Surry Nuclear Power Station. He was named station
manager in 1984; assistant vice president of Nuclear Operations in
1990; vice president of Nuclear Operations in 1993; and vice
president of Nuclear Engineering in 1996.
Leidich, 53, began his career with The Cleveland Electric
Illuminating Co. in 1974 as an associate engineer, and held various
supervisory positions involving the engineering, construction and
operation of the Perry Nuclear Power Plant from 1975 to 1986.
He was named director of system planning for Centerior Energy,
the parent company of CEI, in 1987, and director of human resources
in 1991. He was named vice president of finance and administration
and chief financial officer in 1993, and president of the Power
Generation Group in 1995, a position that he held until the 1997
merger of Centerior Energy and Ohio Edison that created FirstEnergy.
In 1998, Leidich became executive vice president of INPO. He
rejoined FirstEnergy in his current position in June 2002.
Leidich received his bachelor of science degree in electrical
engineering and master of science degree in engineering science,
both from The University of Toledo. He completed the Public
Utilities Executive Program at the University of Michigan in 1988.
Leidich is a member of the American Nuclear Society and the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is a
registered professional engineer in Ohio.