Press Release

FirstEnergy Promotes Executives to Lead Marketing and Corporate Strategy

Company Release -
5/19/2015 4:00 PM ET

AKRON, Ohio, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced that its Board of Directors has named Dennis M. Chack to senior vice president, Marketing and Branding, and Gary D. Benz to senior vice president, Strategy.  The promotions will be effective June 1, 2015.

Chack, currently president, Ohio Operations, will have overall responsibility for corporate branding and marketing of services and energy efficiency programs and will report to FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Jones.  He will also oversee the newly created FirstEnergy Products group, which will develop new value-added products and services that benefit customers. Reporting to Chack will be Gretchan Sekulich, vice president, Communications and Marketing, whose new responsibilities include creating a corporate marketing strategy and communications programs to promote FirstEnergy's brand and new products and services.  In addition, she will continue to oversee corporate communications.  John Dargie, vice president, Energy Efficiency, will also report to Chack. 

Currently vice president, Supply Chain, Benz will report to executive vice president, Markets and Chief Legal Officer Leila Vespoli.  He will lead the ongoing refinement of FirstEnergy's corporate strategy and long-term business forecast, monitor strategy implementation and oversee development of new business opportunities.  Dave Pinter, executive director, Business Development, and Nick Fernandez, director, Business Planning and Performance, will report to Benz.

"Dennis and Gary are experienced leaders with proven track records of building strong stakeholder relationships.  Their wealth of experience in the utility industry has provided them with unique insights into the products and services most desired by customers and a solid vision of the future direction of our industry," said Mr. Jones.  "I am confident that their leadership of FirstEnergy's strategy and marketing efforts will help us achieve our goal of providing safe, reliable service while growing our business and enhancing value for customers and shareholders." 

Chack began his career in the Transmission Engineering department of Ohio Edison in 1969.  He held a number of management positions in marketing and sales with the company before being promoted to vice president of FirstEnergy Solutions, the company's competitive subsidiary, in 1999.  Chack was named regional president of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company in 2001, and president of Ohio Operations in 2011. 

A native of Akron, Chack earned a degree in sales and marketing from The University of Akron.  He is currently a member of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Trustees, the Cleveland Clinic Health Network, chairman of the Board of Marymount Hospital, chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland, member of the Akron General Health System Board of Directors, and board member for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Benz joined the company in 1989 as an attorney.  He was promoted to senior counsel in 1997 and associate general counsel in 2000.  Benz was named director of Business Development in 2009 and to executive director in 2011.  He was promoted to vice president of Supply Chain in 2012.

Benz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and received a law degree from the University of Toledo.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the Community Health Center Foundation. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the Bowling Green State University College of Business Administration and also is president of the Board of Directors of Friends of The Summit, a nonprofit organization that supports public radio stations 91.3 in Akron and 90.7 in Youngstown.

Photos of Chack and Benz are available on Flickr.

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "forecast," "target", "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to successfully implement our revised sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, pending transmission rate case and the effectiveness of our repositioning strategy to reflect a more regulated business profile; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, assessment of the reliability of our transmission system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission investment opportunities; the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters at the federal level and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and the Electric Security Plan IV in Ohio; the impact of the federal regulatory process on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-regulated entities and transactions, in particular FERC regulation of wholesale energy and capacity markets, including PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service; and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems Incorporated's realignment into PJM; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and their availability and impact on retail margins; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, proposed greenhouse gases emission and water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such initiatives or rulemakings could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our previously-implemented dividend reduction, our cash flow initiative project and our other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our announced financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors.  Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.'s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.'s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating.  The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.