James Y. Kerr II, co-chairman of McGuireWoods’ energy industry team, is departing the firm to become general counsel, chief compliance officer and executive vice president of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.
Kerr, a partner in the Raleigh office of McGuireWoods LLP and a senior adviser at McGuireWoods Consulting LLC since 2008, will begin his new duties at the Atlanta headquarters of Southern Company effective March 8.
While at McGuireWoods, Kerr’s energy industry clients included Southern Company. He has extensive knowledge of federal energy policy and regulations as well as solid experience representing utilities in base rate, fuel case and facility certification proceedings. He has been active in electric utility matters including transmission and generation siting and development, environmental regulations, energy efficiency and Smart Grid.
“Jim is joining a wonderful organization. I will personally miss his leadership here but am very pleased for him and his family that he will assume such an important position at Southern Company,” said McGuireWoods Chairman Richard Cullen.
Kerr said he was delighted at the opportunities ahead as part of the Southern Company team as the company “leads the nation’s efforts to deploy clean energy technologies for the benefit of the customers and the communities it serves.”
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to go from one great organization to another,” he said of his transition from McGuireWoods to Southern Company. “I have been honored to participate in what I think is a true partnership – a partnership between outstanding professionals, trusted friends and colleagues, and clients and communities who we have the privilege of serving.”
In announcing Kerr’s appointment, Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning noted Kerr’s recognition in the industry for the solid counsel he rendered while a partner at McGuireWoods.
“Jim is an excellent addition to our leadership team, bringing more than 20 years of legal and regulatory experience in the energy sector to Southern Company,” Fanning said.
Before coming to McGuireWoods, Kerr was a North Carolina Utilities Commission member for eight years, president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners from 2007-2008, and president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners from 2002-2003.
Kerr was a delegate to the 6th European Union-U.S. Energy Regulatory Roundtable in Athens, Greece in 2007, and was named the 2005 Bonbright Honoree by the James C. Bonbright Utilities Center of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.