January 28, 2020

Nickell elected as SPP’s chief operating officer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) board of directors announced on Jan. 28 it has elected Lanny Nickell as SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer effective immediately. Nickell joined SPP in 1997 and most recently served as senior vice president of engineering.

“I’m very pleased for Lanny to serve as SPP’s next chief operating officer. His commitment to SPP and our culture will serve him well in this critical role as we look forward. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lanny and appreciate the expertise and strategic viewpoint he brings to the team. I’m confident that our operations, engineering and information technology groups will thrive under his leadership and vision,” said Barbara Sugg, president and CEO-elect who will soon take over for retiring President and CEO Nick Brown.

“After more than three decades of leadership at SPP, it’s with great pleasure and confidence that I see a new leadership team taking shape,” Brown said. “SPP and its customers are in good hands with Barbara and Lanny at the helm.”

“It is a rare situation when a board is called upon to fill both the CEO and COO positions at the same time,” said Larry Altenbaumer, chair of SPP’s board. “It is even rarer for a board to have the luxury of the opportunity to select an individual of Lanny’s caliber to become its new COO. He is a natural complement to SPP’s new CEO, Barbara Sugg, and together — with the other outstanding leaders within SPP — they will help create SPP’s next amazing chapter in providing extraordinary value to SPP’s members and end use customers.”

As senior vice president of engineering, Nickell was responsible for directing development of SPP’s regional transmission expansion plans, provision of generator interconnection, transmission, and financial congestion hedging services, administration of regional resource adequacy policies, and provision of reliability and market operations engineering support. He established the vision and strategy for SPP’s 165-person engineering organization and developed its leadership team.

Nickell has more than 27 years of transmission planning and operations experience in the electric utility industry. He joined SPP in 1997 as an operations engineer where he helped establish SPP’s reliability coordination and tariff administration functions. He was promoted to the management team in 1998 and became vice president of operations in 2008.

Prior to joining SPP, he served in various engineering roles with Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Central and South West Services. Throughout his career, he has served on numerous industry committees developing national and regional electric reliability and energy market policies. Nickell currently serves as staff secretary for SPP’s Markets and Operations Policy Committee and participates in numerous community and philanthropic boards.   

Nickell received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Tulsa and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He is married and has four children.

“I’m excited about SPP’s future and consider myself blessed to be part of its executive team,” Nickell said. “I look forward to working closely with Barbara in her new role, our board of directors and our tremendously talented staff and stakeholders as we continue building upon SPP’s vast history of success. I’m confident we will find new and creative ways to maximize value in the services we provide to our members and customers.”  

About SPP:  Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.


Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393, msever@spp.org