Tuesday, May 23, 2023

As noted womanizer Chris Womack assumes the coveted Southern Company throne, his supposed "relationship" with a female executive hits the spotlight

Chris Womack and Kim Greene

Incoming Southern Company CEO Chris Womack, a noted womanizer and sexual harasser, has told multiple associates that he had a "close personal relationship" with a high-ranking and well-respected woman in the company hierarchy. Womack's statements, however, might not be factual -- and it's unclear what drove him to make them. But it is clear that he besmirched the reputation of the female executive, and when Womack officially ascends to the top of Southern Company tomorrow (May 24, 2023), he will be her superior -- and that creates a dicey workplace situation for the nation's second-largest utility company.

All of this might be driven by the current leadership's assessment that Womack is a weak and compromised leader, who will take no action to stop dubious financial arrangements that are taking place now and likely will continue in the future. That is from a post today at DonaldWatkins.com, under the headline "Southern Company Quagmire: Chris Womack’s Personal Relationship with Kim Greene." Watkins, a longtime Alabama attorney and businessman, writes:

On May 24, 2023, new Southern Company CEO Chris Womack will have direct supervision of a female subordinate with whom he claims to have enjoyed a discreet and previously undisclosed close personal relationship. This circumstance is predicated upon Womack’s braggadocios statements to others.

This is the Southern Company’s newest quagmire with Chris Womack, a notorious womanizer.

Womack has privately communicated his close personal relationship with this woman to multiple people and on multiple occasions. Womack characterized the relationship as a mutual one between two consenting adults who needed intimate attention from each other.

Was Chris Womack telling the truth about his relationship with this woman, or was he lying?

This is a woman with a record of impressive academic and professional achievements -- in fact, her resume likely would easily top that of Chris Womack, as Watkins spells out:

The woman at the center of the Southern Company’s newest quagmire is Kimberly Greene, the recently appointed Chairwoman, President, and CEO of Georgia Power Company. Greene succeeded Womack as Chairwoman, President, and CEO of Georgia Power.

Prior to her current position, Greene served for five years as Chairman, President, and CEO of Southern Company Gas.

For a couple of years while Kimberly Greene was CEO of Southern Gas, Womack was Chairman, President, and CEO of Georgia Power Company. During this period, Womack and Greene reported directly to Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning.

In her new job at Georgia Power, Greene will report directly to Womack, beginning on May 24th.

Greene’s 32-year career in energy began in 1991 when she joined Southern Company as an engineer designing equipment for fossil and nuclear-power generation stations. She has held executive roles for Southern Company and its subsidiaries as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), including chief executive officer for Georgia Power and Southern Company Gas; chief operating officer for Southern Company; president of Southern Company Services; chief generation officer for TVA; group president, Strategy and External Relations, TVA; and chief financial officer for TVA.

Greene, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, is a member of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. She earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science and mechanics from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sources tell Watkins that Greene never has claimed to have had a close personal relationship with Chris Womack, and it seems clear she would not need such a relationship to advance her career:

Unlike Chris Womack, Kimberly Greene has never acknowledged the close personal relationship that Womack claims he enjoyed with her. Furthermore, we have found no credible evidence to corroborate Womack's disparaging comments about Greene.

Based upon the information available to us to date, it appears that Womack lied about having an intimate relationship with Kimberly Green in a misguided effort to impress men with similar shortcomings -- all at the expense of Greene's well-respected professional and personal reputation.

What is more, Kimberly Greene is a first-class chief executive officer who has far more objective credentials and successful senior-management experience in the utility-plant operations side of the power-generation business than Chris Womack.

Now, Womack and Greene will work together in a Southern Company organizational structure where she must report directly to Womack. That's a quagmire.

Womack reportedly has been conducting a denial tour since Watkins broke details about his sketchy history with women in the workplace -- or, in some cases, connected to it. Writes Watkins:

After we publicized Womack’s history as a womanizer in an exclusive article published on May 17, 2023, Womack engaged in a campaign of denials in response to inquiries from Southern Company officials and supporters regarding this subject.

Borrowing a page from Donald Trump’s 2016 playbook following his embarrassing comments on an Access Hollywood audiotape and his “hush money” scandal with porn star Stormy Daniels, Chris Womack has doubled down on his denials of being a womanizer.

Southern Company officials knew or reasonably should have known that Chris Womack’s denials with respect to a close personal relationship with the women referenced in my May 17, 2023, article are false. The company's own records show that Womack was forced out of Alabama Power Company in 1998 for inappropriate sexual behavior.

Likewise, Southern Company officials should have known about Womack's inappropriate and unwarranted comments about Kimberly Green. When Womack spun a lie about his personal relationship with Kimberly Greene, he disparaged her reputation for no good reason.

However, the men who run the Southern Company (i.e., CEO Thomas Fanning, External Affairs President Bryan Anderson, former General Counsel James Kerr, II, and board members David J. Grain, Donald M. James, and John Johns) do not care about Chris Womack's sexcapades, lying, or any other misdeeds. After all, a couple of these men suffer from the same womanizing affliction that has impaired Womack’s personal and professional judgment.

How was such an ugly tale allowed to unfold in a once-reputable company, the parent firm of Alabama Power, where Chris Womack spent a number of years in public relations and corporate services? Watkins provides insight:

Chris Womack was handpicked as Thomas Fanning’s successor by Fanning, himself. Womack was appointed to the CEO position by the Southern Company’s male-dominated board of directors.

These men can depend upon Womack to blindly allow Fanning to use the Southern Company’s vast business network and many operating platforms for personal “grifting” deals that go far beyond the personal enrichment program Lead Independent board member David J. Grain is currently enjoying.

Based upon Chris Womack’s lack of significant executive experience, poor leadership skills, professional shortcomings, and history of womanizing, Thomas Fanning and David Grain are confident that Womack is the perfect CEO/enabler for implementing their personal enrichment agendas. These men firmly believe they can control and manipulate Womack in order to continue their “get rich” schemes.

Fanning, whose total compensation in 2022 was $24,006,670, is not content to depart his CEO’s position with a retirement package that is valued at up to $100 million. He wants more -- much more.

For the record, Fanning's retirement package requires board approval, which may place those who vote for the package in legal jeopardy.

Incredibly, Fanning’s total compensation for 2022 was more than 167 times the median annual pay of $143,500 for a Southern Company employee. This compensation disparity has shocked many rank-and-file company employees.

What is worse, Fanning’s total compensation package benefited from and is tainted by a massive accounting-fraud scheme that is ongoing at the Southern Company.

Things could start to get tricky tomorrow when Chris Womack assumes the throne -- and that's because a lot is going on beneath the surface, largely outside public view, reports Watkins:

On May 24th, Thomas Fanning is slated to be reappointed to the board of directors in a move that empowers him to oversee his future grifting activities. These projects will use the Southern Company's many operating platforms to make Fanning a multibillionaire within three years.

A dutiful and compromised Chris Womack is expected to greenlight all of Fanning’s and Grain’s personal-enrichment projects.

This cozy arrangement is the real reason why Thomas Fanning picked Chris Womack as his successor and why David Grain led the board of directors in approving Womack's appointment as CEO.

Within this "Southern male privilege" paradigm, the men who run the Southern Company do not care about complying with the anti-sexual harassment provision of the company’s Code of Ethics, or the elevation of a legendary womanizer to the position of CEO, or the deployable act of bypassing more capable and qualified candidates for the CEO’s position, or anything else, except their own greed.

That's the deal!

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