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A Farewell Tribute To John W. Rowe As He Retires From Exelon

(Mr. SHIMKUS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. John Shimkus

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, Mr. John Rowe, as the chairman and CEO of Exelon, is retiring upon closing of the company's merger with Constellation Energy.

John joined Unicom, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, in 1998. He was hired to help fix its troubled nuclear fleet and prepare the company for deregulation.

In both 2008 and 2009, Institutional Investor named John the best electric utility CEO in America. In the 14 years of John's leadership, Exelon has been named by Forbes as one of ``America's Best Companies,'' a ``Global 2000 Company,'' the ``Best Managed Utility Company,'' to Fortune's list of the World's Most Admired Companies, one of Businessweek's Top 50 companies, and Utility of the Year by Electric Light and Power.

Throughout John's career, he has been an active leading voice in energy and environmental policy, delivering policy addresses and testifying before Congress, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and State regulators.

John and his wife, Jeanne, are committed participants in civic and cultural activities. They are committed to a wide range of a variety of civic activities, with a focus on education and diversity. The Rowes are particularly proud of their substantial commitment to founding the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy. And he is a board of trustees chairman of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Mr. Speaker, I have come to know John Rowe during my tenure in Congress. I can say that his impact on the energy industry will be long felt by both policymakers and Exelon customers. I wish him and his family well in their future endeavors.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about someone that I have come to know through my work on the Energy and Commerce Committee over the years, John W. Rowe. Mr. John Rowe, the chairman and CEO of Exelon, is retiring upon closing of the company's merger with Constellation Energy. His retirement marks the end of nearly 14 years at Exelon and his 28-year tenure as the longest-serving electric utility CEO. It also brings to a close a long career in the utility business in which Rowe has distinguished himself as both an industry and civic leader.

John joined Unicom, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison in 1998. He was hired to help fix its troubled nuclear fleet and prepare the company for deregulation. He shepherded the merger of Unicom and PECO Energy and has led the combined company, Exelon, since it formation in 2000. The Unicom-PECO merger is widely regarded as the most successful merger in the industry's history. The combined company serves 5.4 million customers and operates the largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the country.

In both 2008 and 2009, Institutional Investor named Rowe the best electric utility CEO in America. He has also received the Edison Electric Institute Distinguished Leadership Award, Keystone Center Leadership in Industry Award, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Burnham Award for Business and Civic Leadership, induction into the Chicago Business Hall of Fame, University of Arizona Eller College of Management Executive of the Year Award and the Union League of Philadelphia Founder's Award for Business Leadership.

In the 14 years of John Rowe's leadership, Exelon has been named by Forbes as one of ``America's Best Companies,'' a ``Global 2000 Company,'' and ``Best Managed Utility Company'' to Fortune's list of the ``World's Most Admired Companies,'' one of BusinessWeek's ``Top 50'' companies, and ``Utility of the Year'' by Electric Light and Power.

Mr. Rowe served as chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Commercial Club of Chicago, and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

Rowe and his management team succeeded in turning around the ComEd nuclear fleet--increasing the capacity factor from less than 50% in 1997 to more than 92% in every year since 2000 and average refueling outage days were reduced by half. Exelon today is the largest and widely regarded as the best nuclear plant fleet in the U.S.

Responding to massive reliability issues in ComEd's service territory in 1998 and 1999, Rowe spearheaded the effort to improve system reliability that has helped reduce the frequency and duration of customer outages by 20% since 2001. ComEd has spent more than $5 billion on improving the system since 1998. ComEd now performs in the top quartile of its peer companies for reliability.

Under Rowe's leadership, PECO has been an industry leader in reliability performance, moving from the top quartile to top decile in infrastructure modernization and the use of equipment to eliminate and reduce the length of outages for customers.

Throughout his career, John has been a leading voice on energy and environmental policy delivering policy addresses and testifying before Congress, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, state regulators and other. He was a pioneer on industry efforts for utility restructuring and a fierce advocate for environmental stewardship and diversity.

Perhaps more than any other CEO, Rowe has made environmental stewardship a hallmark of his tenure at each of his companies. While at CMP, he refocused its energy procurement strategy to conservation, energy efficiency and cogeneration.

John and his wife Jeanne are committed participants in civic and cultural activities. They are committed to a wide variety of civic activities with a focus on education and diversity.

The Rowes have established the Rowe Family Charitable Trust. Over the past decade, the Rowes and the family Trust have contributed more than $19.7 million to organizations including the University of Wisconsin, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Chicago History Museum, the Field Museum, Misericordia, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Metropolitan Family Services and Northwestern Hospital.

The Rowes are particularly proud of their substantial commitment to founding the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy, and is a Noble Street operated charter school and the Rowe Elementary School, a Northwestern University Settlement Association operated charter school. In addition, John Rowe serves as Chairman of New Schools Chicago, an organization that promotes and funds Charter Schools in the City of Chicago.

Rowe also serves as Chairman of the board of trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology and as President of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He is a Vice Chairman of the Field Museum and has previously served as Chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago and its Civic Committee and as Chairman of the board of the Chicago History Museum. While CEO of CMP, Rowe served as the Chairman of the Fort Western Museum capital campaign. At NEES, Rowe served as President of the USS Constitution Museum, Chairman of the Mechanics Hall capital campaign, a member of the board of the Massachusetts Natural Conservancy and on the board of Trustees at Bryant University.

Under Rowe's leadership and strong belief that utilities can and must have a commitment to their communities, Exelon has become a major part of the social fabric of the communities it serves. Exelon companies granted over $270 million to non-profit organizations serving our communities over the last eleven years including a $70 million donation to fund the Exelon Foundation.

Since the program's inception in late 2005 Exelon employees have tracked over 318,000 hours of community service. Exelon employees serve on over 350 non-profit boards across the service area, making an impact at the community level.

In recognition of Rowe's dedication to the community he has received the Civic Federation of Chicago's Gage Award for Outstanding Civic Leadership, the Citizen of the Year award from the City Club of Chicago, and the Heart of Mercy Award from Misericordia. Under his leadership, Volunteer Match has recognized Exelon as the Corporate Volunteer Program of the Year. Exelon has also received the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership and was named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine's Best Corporate Citizens.

Mr. Speaker, I have come to know John Rowe over my tenure in Congress and I can say that his impact on the energy industry will be long felt by both policy makers and Exelon's customers. I wish him and his family well in their future endeavors.