Citizens Energy Group President and CEO Carey Lykins will retire next year and be replaced by Jeff Harrison, the utility’s board announced Wednesday.
Lykins has been with Citizens for 42 years, including the past nine as president and CEO. He joined the local utility group as a cashier in 1973 when it was known as Citizens Gas & Coke Utility.
Lykins spearheaded Citizens’ $1.9 billion acquisition of the city’s water and wastewater utilities in 2011.
“Carey Lykins is a visionary CEO who has led the transformation of Citizens Energy Group into the diverse utility service company our founders envisioned 127 years ago,” said Board President Dan Appel in a prepared statement. “Carey’s leadership has been the driving force behind unprecedented growth for the Trust as it has remained an industry leader for customer satisfaction and operational excellence.”
Harrison, who is senior vice president of engineering and sustainability, will succeed Lykins on July 1. In the interim, he will take the title of executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Harrison joined Citizens in 2003 as director of market development and worked his way up through several other positions. He spent 13 years in various positions with Indianapolis Power & Light prior to joining Citizens, including corporate strategist.
He has a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a MBA from Indiana University.
“Jeff Harrison has displayed remarkable leadership as Citizens has embarked on unprecedented investments in the community’s aging water and wastewater systems," Appel In addition to his extensive utility industry experience, Jeff has always shown great ability to inspire and motivate employees,” said Appel.
Also on Wednesday, the Citizens board announced approval of a new executive pay system that will reduce compensation for Lykins by roughly 32 percent, and for remaining executives between 6 and 12 percent compared to their prior three-year average compensation.
State regulators scolded Citizens earlier this year for the high level of executive pay at the municipal utility. Utility watchdogs have criticized the compensation for being inappropriate for a not-for-profit charitable trust.
Lykins received about $1.9 million in salary and bonuses in fiscal 2013, about $1 million less than he received the previous year when he received a major bonus.
Collectively, Lykins and the six senior vice presidents saw their compensation drop 26.5 percent in 2013, to a total of $5.9 million.
Citizens serves about 400,000 customers in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.