Eric Silagy, chairman, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light and a prominent figure in state political and business circles, will step down next month as head of the utility, the company announced Wednesday.
John Ketchum, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, FPL’s parent company, will become chairman of FPL on Feb. 15.
The announcement did not detail the reasons for Silagy’s retirement. When Ketchum “became CEO of NextEra Energy last year, I committed to him that I would stay in my role for at least one more year and I’ve now satisfied that commitment,” Silagy said in a prepared statement. “While saying ‘goodbye’ to such a great organization is always difficult, I know that now is the right time for me to hand over the reins of FPL.”
The company, headquartered in Juno Beach in northern Palm Beach County, has long been one of the most-powerful business and political players in Florida. Silagy and FPL, however, have been embroiled in a controversy about allegations that the utility was involved in shadowy behind-the-scenes efforts in 2018 and 2020 to elect Republicans to the Florida Senate. FPL has faced allegations of campaign-finance violations.
But in a separate Securities and Exchange Commission filing, NextEra Energy said it had “substantially” completed a review and indicated it thinks FPL will be cleared of wrongdoing alleged in numerous media reports.
“Regarding the Florida allegations, based on information in our possession, we believe that FPL would not be found liable for any of the Florida campaign finance law violations as alleged in the media articles,” the filing said.
The company also said it will seek dismissal of a complaint filed last year at the Federal Election Commission “and do not believe it is appropriate for a complaint such as this to move forward.”
Silagy was appointed FPL president in December 2011, CEO in May 2014 and chairman in March 2022, according to the company’s website. He is a former chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and was elected in November as chairman of the Florida Council of 100, an influential group of business leaders. He also is vice chairman of the state university system’s Board of Governors.
“Eric is a passionate advocate for continuous improvement, and under his leadership FPL has transformed into the nation’s largest electric utility, providing our customers with the country’s most reliable service with bills significantly lower than the national average,” Ketchum said in a prepared statement. “His commitment to putting customers first was on full display last year during hurricanes Ian and Nicole, where his dedication, commitment and compassion drove the FPL team to restore power in record time and quickly put the state of Florida back on its feet.”
Armando Pimentel, a former president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, will become FPL president and CEO.
Silagy will become vice president-transition of FPL on Feb. 15 before retiring from the company on May 15, NextEra Energy said in a federal Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
FPL is the primary electric utility serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. It also serves most of Florida’s eastern coast and Southwest Florida counties south of the Tampa Bay area.
In 2019, FPL’s parent company NextEra Energy purchased Gulf Power for $5.75 billion, expanding FPL’s service territory to eight counties in the western Panhandle.
Statewide, the company has more than 5.7 million accounts, or more than 12 million people, according to its website. About half of FPL’s accounts — 2.9 million — are in the tricounty area.
In November, the utility purchased 943 acres of farmland in western Palm Beach County from St. Lucie River Farm LLC for $15.9 million. The utility did not disclose its intended use for the property, but it operates several solar farms to the east.
NextEra on Wednesday filed an earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2022 and the full year. On an adjusted basis, NextEra reported full-year earnings of $5.742 billion, or $2.90 per share, compared to $5.021 billion, or $2.55 per share, in 2021.
For the full year, FPL reported net income of $3.701 billion, or $1.87 per share, compared to $3.206 billion, or $1.63 per share, in 2021.
Sun Sentinel staff writer Ron Hurtibise contributed to this news article.