MLGW president leaving utility company, heading back to Florida

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – After nearly five years of leading the nation’s largest three-service municipal utility, President JT Young says he is leaving Memphis Light Gas and Water.

Young says being around family is the motivation for stepping down.

“Very, very difficult to leave the MLGW family. I really believe there was a lot we accomplished and a lot more to accomplish, but at the end of the day, that’s home,” said Young Friday.

Young is heading back to Florida.

He says an offer from Florida Power and Light in late August to serve as Vice President of their Northwest Florida division was too good to pass up.

The move comes about six months before his 5-year anniversary in Memphis.

Young was sworn in as the President in March of 2018, he replaced Jerry Collins, who retired.

Since then, he’s navigated a pandemic, storms that led to weeks-long power outages, and aging infrastructure.

He’s also leaving just two and a half weeks after recommending to the MLGW board to keep the Tennessee Valley Authority as their power supplier, a lengthy RFP process that often drew critics who wanted MLGW to consider other providers.

“I would definitely love to see it through fruition. I really think at the end of the day it is the best alternative for our customers right now to not just see near return savings but to allow the kinds of things we’ve been hearing from customers like more renewables,” said Young.

Young’s departure also comes as the company deals with serious staffing issues leading to long wait times for customers wanting to speak to a representative about their bill.

Young said, “I know that it has been frustrating to our customers.” We do realize that, and all hands are on deck to improve that.”

Young says MLGW is in the process of training 25 additional customer service representatives, and they will reopen the lobbies of four MLGW centers on October 3.

Young’s last day will be about a week and a half later, on October 14.

It’s unclear who will lead MLGW once Young steps down.

Mayor Strickland will appoint his successor, but in the meantime, the MLGW board could appoint an interim CEO.

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