Thomas A. Fanning (a.k.a. Tom Fanning) is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Southern Company, the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the United States.

Early life

Thomas A. Fanning was born in Morristown, New Jersey.[2] He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also received a Master's degree.[3][4]


Fanning started his career as a Financial Analyst at Southern Company in 1980. He became Chief Financial Officer of one of its subsidiaries, Mississippi Power, in 1999, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of another subsidiary Georgia Power from 1999 to 2002, and served as President and CEO of another subsidiary, Gulf Power Company from 2002 to 2003. He was appointed as Executive Vice President of Southern Company in 2003. He also served as its Treasurer from 2003 to 2007, and as its Chief Financial Officer 2003 to 2008. He was appointed as its Chief Operating Officer in 2008.

Fanning has served as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Company since 2010. He has pursued a strategy based on developing a diverse portfolio of energy resources and leveraging energy innovation to serve customers. In a discussion with the Atlantic Council in 2015, he suggested the energy model of the Southern United States utilizing coal, nuclear energy, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency was not under jeopardy "in the near term."[5]

In 2015, Fanning announced the merger of Southern Company and AGL Resources Inc., which upon completion in July 2016 created a combined company with operations in 17 states, 31,000 employees and 9 million customers.[6]

Under Fanning, Southern Company has opened the Energy Innovation Center in Atlanta, where the company and partners are working on products and services such as electric transportation, home automation, energy efficiency and renewables.

Writing in Electric Perspectives magazine in 2016, Fanning said the electric utility industry is working closely with the government to keep the U.S. electric grid safe from cyber and physical attacks. Industry-government cooperation, he said, is "exceedingly important to ensuring the security of the electric system that is so essential to the life, health and safety of all Americans." [7]

Fanning served on the Board of Directors of the St. Joe Company, a land development company and Florida's second largest private landowner, from 2005 to 2011, when he became its Vice Chairman. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta since 2013, and as chairman since 2015. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Vulcan Materials Company, a construction company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.[8] He also serves as a co-chair of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and as the Chairman of the Edison Electric Institute.[8]

Fanning is a member of the Business Roundtable.[8]


He served on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Center for International Studies.[3]

Personal life

Tom Fanning resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He has two sons, Brad and Matt.