FirstEnergy Corp. is road tripping for this year’s annual shareholders meeting.
The electric utility giant for the first time will hold its annual meeting in someplace other than Akron. In this case, the meeting will be the morning of May 21 in Morgantown, W.Va.
Executives at Akron-based FirstEnergy decided to meet in West Virginia because it is in territory the utility covers when it acquired Pennsylvania- based Allegheny Energy in 2011, spokeswoman Tricia Ingraham said.
FirstEnergy bought Allegheny for $4.3 billion in stock, plus assuming $3.8 billion in debt.
“It’s something that’s been discussed since the Allegheny merger two years ago,” Ingraham said. “This is something we said we’d do.”
FirstEnergy previously held shareholders meetings at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron, close to its corporate headquarters. The company probably will hold shareholders meetings at other non-Akron locations in future years, Ingraham said.
FirstEnergy’s geographic territory includes parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, she said.
Meeting in Morgantown allows employees in the area to attend, Ingraham said, and also gives FirstEnergy board members the opportunity to see parts of the utility they otherwise have not seen.
FirstEnergy has more than 500,000 customers in West Virginia, plus 1,700 employees and 1,300 retirees, she said. The Morgantown location is south of Allegheny’s headquarters building in nearby Greensburg, Pa., where 622 people work, Ingraham said.
Last year’s shareholders meeting at the Knight Center was marked with protests inside and outside by union members, shareholders and others. Visitors had to pass through metal detectors to get inside, with the business portion of the meeting taking about 10 minutes. Chief Executive Officer Anthony Alexander did not make any remarks and did not take questions from the 200 people attending.
The decision to meet elsewhere this year is not related to last year’s protests, Ingraham said.
“Protesters can get on a bus and travel,” Ingraham said. “Protesters last year came from other locations.”
The shareholders meeting is scheduled to start 8 a.m. at Waterfront Place Hotel, 2 Waterfront Place, Morgantown.
There are nine items on the proxy for FirstEnergy shareholders to vote on, including the election of 14 board members, deciding on an accounting firm, taking an advisory vote on executive compensation and amending articles of incorporation regarding majority voting. Shareholder proposals on the proxy ballot include benchmarking chief executive officer compensation, retirement benefits and more.
FirstEnergy’s board is recommending that shareholders not approve any of the shareholder proposals.
Attendance is limited to invited guests and to shareholders of record as of March 22.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.