Thomas A. (Tom) Fanning is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company, America’s premier energy company. Elected by the board of directors in July 2010, he became president of Southern Company in August 2010, and assumed the additional responsibilities of chairman and CEO in December 2010.
He has worked for Southern Company for more than 38 years and has held 15 different positions in eight different business units, including numerous officer positions with a variety of Southern Company subsidiaries in the areas of finance, strategy, international business development and technology.
Fanning is co-chair of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which serves as the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power sector to protect the electric grid from threats that could impact national security, including cyber and physical terrorism as well as natural disasters. He also collaborates with the Tri-Sector Executive Working Group, which was formed by the electricity, finance, and communications sectors to enhance national and economic security by developing a cross-sector strategic framework to address existential threats, risk and consequence management.
His leadership in the cybersecurity area was recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2019 with an appointment to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a group developing a protection strategy for the cyberspace interests of the United States.
From 2012-2018, Fanning served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and is a past chairman. He is also a past chairman of the Conference of Chairs of the Federal Reserve Banks and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).
Fanning sits on the advisory board of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, the board of trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation, the board of directors of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the regional governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators’ Atlanta Centre. He also serves on the board of directors of Vulcan Materials Company and is a member of the Business Roundtable. Fanning also is a member of the international advisory board of the Atlantic Council, which promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs, and the American Energy Innovation Council, a group of America’s leading business executives working to build broad bipartisan support for public and private investments in innovation.
Recent accolades include being named CEO of the Year at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards which honor individuals in the energy industry dedicated to achieving excellence, improving the industry and creating new solutions to better serve customers. He also has been awarded EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award by his industry peers for his significant contributions and commitment to the electric power industry and is the 2018 recipient of the American Football Coaches Foundation’s CEO Coach of the Year Award.
Fanning earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial management and also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Georgia Tech. His executive education includes programs at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Fanning lives in Atlanta with his wife, Sarah, and has four children.