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Local Companies | Article published May 29, 2002
Troubles at FirstEnergy ripple
Key executive leaves; others are demoted or shuffled

AKRON - Amid ongoing problems at its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Oak Harbor, FirstEnergy Corp. has had one key executive abruptly leave and has demoted or shuffled others.

The moves, announced yesterday and effective immediately, were portrayed as the Akron utility trying to shore up its management for nuclear operations.

Not on the official announcement but disclosed by a company spokesman was that John K. Wood, vice president of engineering for nuclear operations, "left" the company effective Friday. Spokesman Todd Schneider declined to say, however, whether Mr. Wood was fired or resigned.

Mr. Wood previously was vice president at Davis-Besse and was based at Davis-Besse in his latest job, in which he oversaw the Oak Harbor plant and FirstEnergy’s two other nuclear plants. The vacancy means the engineering directors at each nuclear plant will temporarily report to the vice presidents at each plant. Those engineers will report to Gary Leidich, who arrives in about two weeks as executive vice president of FirstEnergy’s Nuclear Operating Company, Mr. Schneider said.

Other changes include James J. Powers being named director of nuclear engineering at Davis-Besse, replacing Steve Moffitt, who was demoted to manager of power upgrades and other functions at FirstEnergy’s Perry nuclear plant near Cleveland.

Mr. Powers, former director of engineering at Perry, is to focus on getting Davis-Besse’s reactor back in service, Mr. Schneider said. He will report to Howard Bergendahl, vice president at Davis-Besse, a post he assumed in January.

The plant has been idled since February, when it was shut down for normal maintenance but after which a corroded reactor head was discovered, resulting in a lengthy search for a fix. The company that owns Toledo Edison now hopes to replace the reactor head and have the plant operating by year’s end, but federal regulators must agree to the work before that can happen.

William R. Kanda was promoted by FirstEnergy to vice president from plant manager at the Perry plant, replacing Guy G. Campbell, who was moved to a new position of vice president overseeing the decommissioned No. 2 reactor at Three Mile Island and the Saxon research reactor being decommissioned, both in Pennsylvania.

Timothy S. Rausch was promoted to plant manager at Perry, a post Mr. Kanda had held. Mr. Rausch formerly was director of work management and maintenance at Perry.

The round of management changes in FirstEnergy’s nuclear operations was the second in a month. Three weeks ago the company said it was installing a new management layer to oversee Davis-Besse and two other nuclear plants. That group included Mr. Leidich and Lew Myers, named the first chief operating officer of the utility’s nuclear operations subsidiary.


More articles on this subject »
S&P monitoring reactor costs 05/29/2002
Davis-Besse will replace reactor head 05/24/2002
Davis-Besse is focus of U.S. criminal investigation 05/23/2002
FirstEnergy to join anti-outage alliance 05/23/2002
FirstEnergy says plant could restart by year’s end 05/22/2002

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