Executive Search for Big Rivers President & CEO

Executive Search for Big Rivers President & CEO


The President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is governed by a six-member Board of Directors comprised of two Directors from each of Big Rivers Electric Corporation’s three Member-owner distribution cooperatives.

The CEO directs 300 total employees through four direct reports, including the Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Administrative Officer, a General Counsel, and a Chief Financial Officer. Field personnel (~230) are represented by two IBEW bargaining units.


Big Rivers’s retiring CEO will depart the organization at the high point in the organization’s history with the cooperative’s team having addressed many of its most complex challenges. The next CEO should expect to inherit an organization accomplishing its goals in the execution of its strategic plan, a properly positioned and well-performing power supply portfolio and generating and transmission assets, an exceptional safety record, and a cohesive governing body and Member-owner group. The Big Rivers Board of Directors envisions continued progress and a new era of financial stability that will allow the organization and new CEO to achieve another layer of overall evolution and service to all cooperative Members. The next CEO must continue to offer capabilities as a creative visionary to assist the Big Rivers family of cooperatives to prepare for an uncertain and challenging future.

Candidates should offer a history of executive management experience engaging a power supply organization in formal and collaborative strategic planning processes that seek to align all cooperative personnel in a clear mission and vision with challenging goals. Ideal candidates will adhere to continuous improvement of the organization, strategic planning as a guideline to decision making and work execution, and transparent and thorough communication of goals in all directions including externally to stakeholders. The Board seeks a CEO with a proven track record fostering a culture of cohesiveness, communication at all levels, and transparency.

Candidates with substantive breadth of power supply experience that includes coal and/or gas-fired generating facility operation are desired, as is leadership experience with resource planning and analysis and guidance of major generating asset and power portfolio decisions. Big Rivers is currently analyzing additional generating options for the future and all leadership is supportive of the long-term viability of coal as a generating fuel while building flexibility and stability into the portfolio with natural gas and renewable options.

Unlike most cooperative organizations, Big Rivers is governed by its state utility regulatory authority, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC). This requires unique attention from the CEO to not only manage and guide regulatory activity as it affects the organization, but also to perform the function of regulatory relations and communication at a higher-than-average level for CEOs. Ideally, the Big Rivers Board seeks candidates with substantive regulatory experience. It is understood that most cooperative executives do not offer depth of regulatory experience but it is expected that candidates offer a deep level of respect for the regulatory process and a willingness to invest substantive time to proactively develop healthy relationships and trust with state regulators.

Candidates should display a history of engaging with industry partners to the benefit of their employer. Those that offer experience with electric markets and electric and fuel supply agreements are desired.

Specific experience
with MISO and PJM may be an advantage as is experience with industry partners engaged in market settlement and hedging-and-trading activities, such as ACES Power.

Big Rivers offers an outstanding safety record over the long-term and will expect its next CEO to maintain safety as a top priority. Big Rivers accomplished an industry-leading 12 years without a lost-time incident for transmission employees and several years without a lost-time accident at multiple generating facilities. The company earned its 57th Governor Safety Award and it’s seventh consecutive Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) Destiny Award in 2022. Candidates must offer a strong track record of safety leadership and relationship-building with unions to maintain an aligned safety culture.

Big Rivers offers a long history of challenging and successful engagement with large industry. Aside from effective cost management and reliability consistency to support economic development, the cooperative is fully invested in economic development activities for its Member-owners and enjoyed recent successes in landing large industrial customers. Big Rivers’s continued success is further evidenced by a continual flow of present-day industry considering relocation to the service territory. Candidates must offer substantive engagement with economic development leadership and successful engagement with large industrial customers.

Less than a decade ago, Big Rivers faced significant financial strain. Today, Big Rivers is proud of its recent accomplishment to enhance its credit ratings with all three agencies while also holding a 34% equity position while returning $12 million in bill credits to Members in 2023. Candidates should anticipate continuing engagement with credit agencies and offer strong financial savvy to support continued financial evolution.

The next CEO is expected to continue a legacy of outstanding results in contract negotiations and candidates should offer an established track record of successful negotiations with quantifiable positive results. In addition, an established track record of recognizing and gaining benefit from technological advances is desired.

Candidates with experience leading and executing a comprehensive succession plan are desired. Big Rivers’s Board expects the next CEO to be an outstanding judge of talent that understands employee attraction, development, and retention and the value of investing in the workforce to strengthen the organization’s capabilities.

Business savvy, ethics, outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, and an experienced and credible leader are more important characteristics to the Big Rivers Board than experience within a particular discipline, but substantive experience within the areas of cooperative utility power supply, transmission, and finance are preferable.

While ideal candidates would offer the above conditions and cooperative G&T experience, the Big Rivers Board is open-minded to candidates from municipal or investor-owned utilities, provided those candidates offer strong alignment with the NRECA’s seven cooperative principles and bring a thorough understanding-of and respect-for the cooperative business model.

Candidates are required to offer a bachelor’s degree in an applicable course of education and an MBA or applicable advanced degree is desired. At least 10 years of progressive management experience that includes executive responsibility for one or more primary departments of an electric utility power supply organization is required.

Big Rivers is a Member-owned, not-for-profit, Generation and Transmission cooperative (G&T) that provides wholesale electric power and shared services to three distribution cooperative Member-Owners across 22 counties in western Kentucky. The Member-Owners are Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation, headquartered in Paducah; Kenergy Corp, headquartered in Henderson; and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, headquartered in Brandenburg. Together, the Member-Owners distribute retail electric power to more than 120,000 homes, farms, businesses, and industries.

Incorporated in June of 1961, the mission of Big Rivers is to safely deliver competitive and reliable wholesale power and cost-effective shared services desired by the Member-Owners. Business operations revolve around seven core values: safety, excellence, teamwork, integrity, Member and community service, respect for the employee, and environmental consciousness.

Big Rivers owns and operates generating capacity from three power stations: • Robert D. Green Station– 454 MW, formerly coal, converted to natural gas • D. B. Wilson Station– 417 MW, coal-fired • Robert A. Reid Station (CT) – 65MW

Total power capacity is 1,114 MW, including 178 MW of contracted capacity from the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA). Once commissioned in 2024, a power purchase agreement for solar generation of 160 MW will be added to the portfolio in November and additional solar and battery applications are currently in-process.

Big Rivers completed construction on a new corporate office in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 2023 and will soon begin construction on a new operations center to consolidate two field offices to Owensboro.
Big Rivers is consistently hitting its financial targets, saving on debt, and utilizing bill credits to drive down costs to Members. Net margins topped $43 million in 2022 (pre-TIER credit), with more than $17 million designated for regulatory assets and nearly $12 million for 2023 Member bill credits.

In early 2022, Big Rivers’s Green Station units underwent a successful transformation from coal-fired to natural gas. The gas conversion project retained nameplate capacity for the units and allowed for a plant nearing retirement to continue valuable energy production. As the cooperative’s original power plant, Coleman Station, underwent demolition to prepare the site for future economic development, Big Rivers moved forward on another generation upgrade. The scrubber system from the retired Coleman Station was dismantled and reinstalled at Wilson Station, a comprehensive project allowing the power plant to now run with greater efficiency and less environmental impact. While the future is bright for emerging sources, the speed of evolution is currently straining regional transmission systems and putting the future of reliable electricity at risk. Big Rivers is taking an “all of the above” approach to sustainability and reliability, working to incorporate coal, natural gas, hydropower, and solar energy to increase sustainability while maintaining efficient and reliable baseload electricity.

Western Kentucky is experiencing increasing economic development attention, and Big Rivers is working to support new and existing business growth across our service territory. The recent successes of landing the NUCOR steel mill in Brandenburg, the $500 million Pratt Paper facility in Henderson, and the $50 million Blockware Mining center in Paducah showcase Big Rivers’s experience serving large industrial project needs.

High-voltage electric power is delivered to the Member-Owners over a system of 1,338 miles of transmission lines and 26 substations owned by Big Rivers. Twenty-seven transmission interconnections link Big Rivers to surrounding utilities. The Big Rivers engineering team completed a years-long process to expand the 345kV transmission system to the new $1.7 billion NUCOR facility in 2022.

Big Rivers will cover the customary costs of relocating the successful candidate. A benefits summary is attached below this document.


  • Resume submissions preferred by August 25. Deadline for submission is August 30.
  • Virtual interviews with semi-finalist candidates anticipated on September 27 and 28
  • Finalist interviews in Owensboro anticipated on October 23 and 24.
  • Late November to early December start date.
    Joyce Gallo
    Senior Recruiter
    Mycoff Fry Partners LLC
    (800) 525-9082
  • Resumes preferred in PDF format

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