PPL Corp. (PPL), an operator of utilities and power plants, named industry veteran and Chief Operating Officer William H. Spence to take on the president post, effectively immediately.
Spence, who first joined PPL as COO five years ago, will also continue to serve in his original role. James H. Miller, PPL's president since 2005, will continue to serve as chairman and chief executive, posts he has held since 2006.
Miller said Spence has been instrumental in PPL's recent acquisitions of utility operations in Kentucky and England. Because wholesale power prices remain weak due to the low price for natural gas, which is used to generate electricity, PPL and some other merchant generators have been vying to build their utility businesses where returns of investments are guaranteed through regulated rates.
Spence joined PPL from Pepco Holdings Inc. (POM), which provides electricity to the mid-Atlantic region. Spence has held a number of executive and engineering positions throughout his career.
In May, PPL reported its first-quarter profit jumped 64% on higher prior-year unusual items, while adjusted earnings were stronger than expected as operating margins increased.
Shares were recently flat at $28.03.
-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; firstname.lastname@example.org