January 3, 2024

SPP names Felek Abbas as new vice president and chief security officer

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has selected Felek Abbas as vice president and chief security officer, effective Jan. 3, 2024. The new position is important to safeguarding SPP’s vital role in grid operations and protecting SPP’s data and personnel.

“Cyber and physical security is a very real risk to the electric utility industry,” said SPP President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Sugg. “Felek has skills and experience that will help SPP address the challenges presented by a global cyber threat landscape, and we are proud to welcome him to SPP.”

As vice president and chief security officer, Abbas will oversee SPP’s cyber and physical security, emergency management and business continuity.

“I am excited to join SPP and its executive leadership team,” said Abbas. “It is a dynamic time for the power industry, and I am looking forward to contributing my extensive experience to secure and fulfill SPP’s mission to responsibly and economically keep the lights on.”

Abbas has nearly 30 years of electric industry experience in cybersecurity, engineering, consulting, risk management, audit and compliance. He most recently served as Senior Manager of Cybersecurity for Power and Utilities at Ernst & Young, where he supported clients with cybersecurity program transformations in both IT and operational technology. He has additional experience as a NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Compliance Advisor and Auditor, where he helped shape and implement the NERC CIP v5 cybersecurity standards, and he has operational experience as a SCADA engineer at Progress Energy, Mirant Corporation and Georgia Power Company. Abbas has an electrical engineering degree from Auburn University and is an (ISC) Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Sam Ellis, SPP’s current vice president of information technology who previously served as chief security officer, will transfer his security responsibilities to Abbas and focus on future grid strategies and ensuring SPP has the right technologies to support the organization’s strategic aspirations.

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