New CEO of PPL Corp. Takes the Reins at an Unprecedented Time
By Colin McEvoy on November 16, 2020
Vincent Sorgi took the reins as Chief Executive Officer of PPL Corp. at a time of unprecedented challenges. It was June of this year, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Fortune 500 energy company focused intently on keeping its employees safe and delivering reliable electricity and gas to its customers during a time of great need.
Fortunately, Sorgi was the right man for the job. He already was leading PPL’s COVID-19 response as President and Chief Operating Officer, the offices he held before becoming President and CEO on June 1.
“I will tell you I think we will come out of this stronger as a company,” Sorgi said. “I’ve never seen a company come together and work as closely together as we have in response to this pandemic.”
Sorgi was interviewed in the latest entry in a weekly series the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is conducting with new corporate leaders with some of Lehigh Valley’s leading companies and largest employers.
“Since March of this last year, we’ve been operating in a different world, in a different environment during the pandemic, where we’re not able to gather together and greet and meet and do the things we’d like to do as the Lehigh Valley business community,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, who conducted the interview.
“Therefore, we’ve created this online series to introduce to all of you the host of new leaders who have taken over large companies and large employers in the Lehigh Valley during the last 18 months,” he said. “We’ve had no short of about 15 different major companies transition into new leadership.”
The Lehigh Valley Health Network is the presenting sponsor for the series, with Capital BlueCross as the premier sponsor. Gold sponsors include BB&T, now Truist, Fitzpatrick, Lentz & Bubba, and PenTeleData. Crayola and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation are event sponsors for the series; Follett LLC is the interview sponsor, Countess Communications is the production sponsor, and ArtsQuest is the venue sponsor.
PPL responded aggressively to the pandemic once COVID-19 reached the United States, Sorgi said. The company quickly arranged for 4,600 employees to work from home and adjusted operations to implement social distancing for those required to come to work due to the nature of their jobs.
“We were laser-focused on ensuring that we kept the lights on and the gas flowing,” Sorgi said. “Just imagine, especially in that April timeframe, if we also didn’t have electricity. We were critical to ensuring that our first responders and hospital workers could do what they needed to do at a time when they needed us the most.”
During the interview, Sorgi discussed PPL’s 100th anniversary, how the company has grown and evolved over time, and its involvement in the community through social causes, environmental stewardship, and its participation in Lehigh Valley Partnership, a coalition of CEOs from large employers in the region.
While PPL’s headquarters is in Allentown, and it is known by most people in this region as a Pennsylvania company, PPL also serves millions of customers in other locations, including Kentucky and the United Kingdom.
In the past decade in Pennsylvania alone, PPL has improved reliability by 30% and customer satisfaction by 20%, kept costs flat, and kept rates 25% lower than its mid-Atlantic peers, Sorgi said. This was done primarily through investment in technology and digital solutions, he said, “making the grid harder, smarter and more resilient.”
“PPL benefits tremendously from the Lehigh Valley: just a great workforce,” he said. “They’re smart, they’re bright, they’re innovative, and their work ethic is second to none. It’s very compatible with our culture.”
The final interview in the LVEDC video series will be shown on Nov. 19, featuring Matt Sorrentino, CEO of Health Network Laboratories.
ArtsQuest provided access to indoor space large enough for safe distancing for the interviews. There is no audience for the interviews, which will adhere to public health and social distancing standards.
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