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FirstEnergy CEO abruptly announces retirement after less than two years on the job

 FirstEnergy building in Akron
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
FirstEnergy building in Akron

FirstEnergy’s chief executive officer has abruptly announced his retirement after just under two years on the job.

Steve Strah took over when FirstEnergy’s board of directors fired the previous CEO following an internal investigation into the federal racketeering case surrounding the House Bill 6 energy law, also known as the nuclear bailout law.

A filing by FirstEnergy with the Securities and Exchange Commission said Steve Strah announced on Thursday he’d retire the next day. He’s also resigned from the board of directors. He won’t receive a severance package, but does receive other retirement compensation.

Strah took over after CEO Chuck Jones was fired in October 2020, and signed last year’s plea deal in which FirstEnergy admitted to bribing Republican former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Public Utilities Commission chair Sam Randazzo and agreeing to pay $230 million.

Householder has pleaded not guilty and is set for trial in January. Randazzo hasn’t been charged.

John Somerhalder II was named interim president and CEO of FirstEnergy. He's currently the chair of the board of directors, which will start a national search for Strah's permanent replacement.

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