3Qs: Bill Johnson, TVA chairman and CEO

JOHNSON

JOHNSON

Bill Johnson, 60, is chairman and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Before joining TVA in 2012, he was chairman, president and CEO of Progress Energy. Johnson said he has made an effort to be on the road at least three times a week, making visits around the seven-state footprint covered by TVA. The utility serves more than 9 million customers in portions of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Johnson was in Mississippi last week, visiting the Tecumseh plant in Verona and the Yokohama Tire site in West Point. Daily Journal Business Editor Dennis Seid spoke to Johnson during his Tecumseh tour.

Q. What are some of the immediate challenges TVA faces?

A. The biggest challenge is dealing with a decline in revenue of $1.5 billion, so we have to take a look at how efficient and effective we are and to focus on our core elements and do what we do best.

Q. What are some of the things you’re reviewing?

A. One of the things we talk about is continuous improvement. There are a lot of processes that we can look at. For example, how many people does it take to approve a process? Another thing we can do is retire assets we don’t need. With the reduction in service, we have more assets than we need. … we can also look at more efficiently operating the assets we do have.

Q. We’ve heard TVA is looking at eliminating its role as administrator of the funding that the Appalachian Regional Commission receives. Why is that?

A. We’re looking at every program we have. We’re looking at what is the most effective way to allocate our resources. Part of that review is looking at our role with the ARC. This is still in process; again, we’re looking at everything we do. We have to see what is most effective and we have to rationalize our behavior.