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Joe Grimes
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Mike Skaggs

The Tennessee Valley Authority is promoting its two top nuclear power executives to new management roles to replace TVA Chief Operating Officer Charles "Chip" Pardee, who is retiring at the end of the year.

TVA Nuclear Chief Joe Grimes will become executive vice president of generation as well as chief nuclear officer, while Mike Skaggs. who has headed the startup efforts at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant for the past three years, will serve as executive vice president, of operations for all of TVA. The changes are effective Oct. 3, TVA announced Friday.

Grimes will assume leadership of power operations along with generation construction, projects and services, in addition to his role as head of nuclear power, which he has led since joining TVA in 2013. He has more than 30 years of experience in utility operations, maintenance and engineering management, and has supported nuclear and fossil energy generating stations across the country.

In his new role, Skags will oversee safety, transmission and power supply, river management, natural resources, supply chain, infrastructure, TVA police, and continuous improvement. He has over 25 years of leadership experience in the utility business, 22 of those years at TVA. Skaggs most recently led the team completing construction of Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new nuclear reactor to be added to America's power fleet in more than two decades.

"In the spirit of continuous improvement, we continually evaluate our organizational structure to ensure it most efficiently and effectively supports our mission of serving the people of the Tennessee Valley," TVA President Bill Johnson said in a statement. "Naming Joe and Mike as leaders of these strategic business units enables us to provide strong leadership continuity, sustain our performance improvements and build on the progress we've made while keeping rates low and reliability high as the industry and consumer behaviors evolve."

The changes come as TVA phases out most of its new nuclear power construction staff used over the past half century to build and rebuild its seven operating reactors. TVA also is trimming other staff and power functions to help cut costs and adapt to slower growth in its power demand.

TVA, which employed as many as 51,709 employees in 1981 at the employment peak when it still planned to build 17 nuclear reactors, has cut its staff to just over 10,000 employees today after scrapping plans for 10 of the originally planned nuclear units and outsourcing much of its maintenance and construction work.

Since joining TVA four years ago, Johnson has cut $600 million in the utility's annual operating expenses by reducing staff, programs and building projects at TVA.

Johnson recruited to TVA for the agency's No. 2 position Chip Pardee, who previously was chief operating officer of Exelon Generation and chairman of constellation Energy Nuclear Group, an Exelon subsidiary. Pardee announced last month he will retire by December.

Last year, Pardee was paid a compensation package worth$2.98 million, making him one of the nation's highest paid federal employees behind Johnson's $6.4 million of salary, bonuses and benefits. Th 2015 compensation packages totaled $2.1 million for Grimes and $2.05 million for Skaggs.

The executives' pay for 2016 will be disclosed by TVA this fall in its final fiscal 2016 report.

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