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CEO of Georgia Power’s parent tests positive for virus

Tom Fanning, president and CEO of Southern Company since 2010. Photo credit: James Schnepf / Southern Company
Tom Fanning, president and CEO of Southern Company since 2010. Photo credit: James Schnepf / Southern Company

The chairman and chief executive officer of one of Georgia’s most influential companies said he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Tom Fanning, who leads Atlanta-based Southern Company, the parent of Georgia Power, tweeted Friday evening that “While never experiencing any symptoms, I recently tested positive for COVID-19.”

“I continue to lead Southern Company as normal under the remote working protocols we began in March. I am in sequestration at home, staying away from others & teleworking as I have been.”

Company spokesman Schuyler Baehman said he didn’t know when or how Fanning, 63, may have contracted the disease or when and why he was tested.

The Fortune 500 company’s board has not met in person in recent months, he said. It was unclear when Fanning may have last met with other top executives or other employees of the company. Baehman said he was unaware of any underlying health issues that might put Fanning at extra risk from the disease.

Fanning leads one of the nation’s largest utility companies, having generated more than $21 billion in revenue last year with subsidiaries that include Atlanta Gas Light, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power, in addition to Georgia Power. The company has been a major lobbying force in Georgia and in Washington D.C.

The coronavirus pandemic earlier hit the company's multi-billion-dollar expansion of Plant Vogtle, the only new commercial nuclear project underway in the nation. About 2,000 workers were cut from the already-delayed project as the virus spread, absenteeism grew and hundreds of site workers self isolated.