Cobb EMC’s CEO is retiring after taking over from controversial leader

The head of Cobb EMC is retiring after 45 years with the power utility.

Chip Nelson announced his departure during the company’s annual meeting Saturday at Jim R. Miller Park, said spokeswoman Leslie Thompson. He’ll leave March 2018.

He took over from Dwight Brown in 2011. Brown was indicted on charges that he bilked millions of dollars from the company. But those charges were dropped, which the state has appealed.

Cobb EMC eliminates 80 positions citing efficiency

Nelson, age 63 at the time, began about five years after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated the Marietta-based electric utility cooperative and found it was putting co-op funds in a for-profit business it’d created. Cobb EMC customers sued the company.

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Since then, there have been many legal appeals and dismissals and even a $98 million settlement.

In other county news: Cobb commissioners deny grocery store plan after heated meeting

“Myself, along with our board of directors and our dedicated employees, have gotten this company back to a clean slate, which was my original goal when I was first named president and CEO,” Nelson said.

Nelson started with Cobb EMC on a construction crew, the company said.

With Nelson as CEO and after a new board of directors was elected — Cobb EMC management at one point was accused of influencing elections — Nelson helped order up a multi-year assessment of the company.

Thompson said the company’s board of directors has started looking Nelson’s replacement and “hope to introduce a new CEO” in early 2018.

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Brand new solar farm went online in South Georgia and that power is already being delivered to substations like Cobb EMC, which has tripled solar energy use. (Channel 2 Action News)

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