FirstEnergy Announces Updated Strategic Plan, Including Goal to Accelerate Workforce Diversity
AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 28, 2021 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today published its updated Strategic Plan and announced that it is continuing its progress toward building a more diverse and inclusive workplace by pursuing a 30% increase in racially and ethnically underrepresented employees, both overall and at the supervisor-and-above leadership level, by 2025.
"Setting this goal will accelerate FirstEnergy's transformation into a more innovative, diverse and sustainable company," said Steven E. Strah, FirstEnergy's president and acting chief executive officer. "As we work to strengthen FirstEnergy and rebuild our reputation with key stakeholders, we continue to be guided by our mission, core values and behaviors, and our commitment to being a forward-thinking electric utility that always puts customers at the center of everything we do. Our Strategic Plan identifies bold goals for key areas of our business. I'm confident that with continued enhancements to our processes, we will achieve and exceed our objectives."
Assembling a Diverse and Inclusive Team
FirstEnergy is working to build a diverse, high-performing and innovative workforce that better reflects the diversity of the customers it serves; create an inclusive environment of respect, appreciation and belonging for everyone; and help employees grow, develop and excel in executing the company's strategy.
To accelerate workforce diversity, FirstEnergy has set a goal to increase the number of employees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups by 30% by 2025. This represents an increase from 10% to 13% in the overall employee population, and 7.5% to 9.7% at the leadership level compared to the 2019 baseline.
"Diversity and inclusion are key to building a more sustainable company, achieving our goals and bringing the FirstEnergy mission to life," Strah said. "Our employees move our strategy, culture and company forward. We know that as a more diverse and inclusive company, we will improve our ability to attract top talent, increase employee engagement and better reflect the communities we serve, which in turn will improve decision-making, enhance our safety culture and fuel innovation for a more sustainable future."
In support of its goal to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of its workforce, the company is enhancing its recruiting strategy and hiring processes. Key changes include launching a FirstEnergy Ambassador network to build relationships with colleges, universities and educational organizations; increasing investments and involvement with historically Black colleges and universities; and providing leadership and management training around its hiring philosophy.
Powered by Core Values and Behaviors
FirstEnergy's Strategic Plan also articulates numerous other goals that support the company's objectives. The goals include the previously announced pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as specific targets related to:
- Enhancing a culture of compliance through transparency and accountability
- Enabling a smarter, more resilient electric system
- Embracing innovation across the organization
- Meeting the challenges of climate change
- Developing a diverse and inclusive workforce
- Building collaborative relationships, marked by trust and respect, with all our stakeholders
- Strengthening the company's safety-first culture
- Delivering strong and predictable financial results
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "forecast," "target," "will," "intend," "believe," "project," "estimate," "plan" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the results of our ongoing internal investigation and evaluation of our controls framework, the extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers, contractors and employees, our customers' ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; the risks and uncertainties associated with government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters including potential adverse impacts on federal or state regulatory matters including, but not limited to, matters relating to rates; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and similar proceedings; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing earnings and maintaining financial flexibility; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as a recession, significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions in response to such conditions; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of climate change or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.'s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.'s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. The foregoing factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements and risks that are included in our filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy Corp.'s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACT: News Media Contact: Tricia Ingraham, (330) 384-5247; Investor Relations Contact: Irene Prezelj, (330) 384-3859