Susan Story has worked in utilities for nearly 40 years, and led Camden-based American Water for six – a time period that saw the water and wastewater utility become the first, and only, water utility to be a part of the S&P 500, the Down Jones Utility Average and the Philadelphia Utilities Index.
On Tuesday afternoon, American Water Works Co. Inc. announced Story will retire as president and chief executive officer on April 1, 2020, and be succeeded by current Chief Operating Officer Walter Lynch.
Following her departure, Story said she plans to continue her board work, spend more time with family, and become more involved with charitable efforts.
“We know that what we do, delivering the critical health need of clean and safe water and water services, is truly a noble calling, and not just a job,” Story said in a prepared statement.
“After 38 years of working in the utility business, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every part of this journey—and completing it at American Water in a few months will be a perfect way to finish,” she added.
In a statement, Story described Lynch – who began his American Water career in 2001 and has served as COO since 2008 – as an incredible leader and partner during her time at the helm of the company.
“With Susan at the helm, American Water is now part of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, the NAACP’s Inaugural Equity Inclusion and Empowerment Index, a Best for Vets Employer, Military Friendly Spouse Employer, and the Disability Equality Index with a perfect 100 percent score,” Lynch said in a prepared statement. “Most importantly to her, and all of us, is the top priority she has put on employee safety, with a 60 percent reduction in overall employee injuries over the past five years and an 82 percent reduction in serious injuries since she became CEO. Both the leadership team and I are deeply committed to continuing all of these efforts, as our company values will not change.”
In his current role, Lynch is responsible for the company’s performance in 16 regulated states – serving about 12 million people – as well as leading system-wide engineering, health and safety, and the Military Services Group. He is a past president of the National Association of Water Companies, American Water said, and has been on the board of directors and its executive committee for several years; he also serves on the Water Research Foundation’s board of trustees.
American Water on Tuesday also revealed its 10-year $20 billion to $22 billion capital spending plan, which sees an $800 million increase in regulated infrastructure investment for 2020 – 2024.
2020 earnings are estimated to fall within $3.79 and $3.89 per diluted share.
American Water will hold its 2019 Investor Day on Dec. 11, including presentations from Story, Lynch, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Susan Hardwick and other leaders.
A link to the live webcast, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and end around 12:30 p.m. is available on American Water’s website.