GDECD Commissioner Chris Cummiskey Leaving Post to Join Southern Power

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Southern Company today announced that Chris Cummiskey has been named chief commercial officer of subsidiary Southern Power, effective Oct. 14. In this role, Cummiskey will lead the expansion of wholesale marketing activities, including business development, acquisitions and asset management for Southern Power.

Cummiskey is currently the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). He has served in this role since January 2011, leading the state agency responsible for bringing jobs and investment to Georgia through global commerce, entertainment and tourism. Cummiskey previously worked for Southern Company, serving as an energy trader from 1996 to 1999.

"Chris is a proven leader whose understanding of the issues and customer-focused mindset will help ensure Southern Power's continued success," said Southern Power Chief Executive Officer Oscar C. Harper. "His experience in growing business in Georgia, coupled with his background in energy and gas, makes him uniquely suited for this position. We are pleased to welcome Chris back to the Southern Company system."

Upon Cummiskey leaving his role, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he has nominated U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s chief of staff, Chris Carr, to succeed Chris Cummiskey as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

During Cummiskey's tenure at GDEcD, his team led more than 500 company locations or expansions in Georgia, creating more than 46,700 jobs and $8.92 billion in investment. Two of the most recent projects include Baxter International and Caterpillar, Inc., which together account for $1.5 billion in investment and 3,200 new jobs.

Under Cummiskey's leadership, the tourism industry registered $49 billion in total economic impact during 2011 and the impact of the film industry reached a new record at $3.1 billion in 2012.

Prior to joining GDEcD, Cummiskey was a manager and director of energy and gas derivatives trading for companies including RWE Americas, Mirant and Mieco. He also served as a state director for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, chief of staff for former Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson, and director of state relations for the University of Georgia.

Cummiskey, 39, is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he holds a bachelor's degree in business administration. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Atlanta.

His replacement “Chris Carr is respected throughout the state and has built a deep reservoir of goodwill,” Governor Deal said. “I trust he will pick up where Chris Cummiskey has left off and bring more economic expansion to Georgia. He has served Georgia well in Sen. Isakson’s office and he’ll continue to do that in his new capacity.

“Chris Cummiskey has worked hard and delivered good jobs for Georgians. He’s led and partnered with me to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Others have obviously noticed Chris’s abilities, and he is moving on to a great opportunity. I wish him the best of luck, and we will miss him here.”

Isakson pointed out that both Carr and Cummiskey have deep ties to the senator’s office.

“Chris Carr has done a fantastic job as my chief of staff, and the Governor has made a great choice to lead the Georgia Department of Economic Development,” Isakson said. “This marks the second time a former Isakson staffer has been chosen to lead this agency that is so critical to Georgia’s future.”

Cummiskey will serve at GDEcD until Oct. 11. Upon board approval, Carr will become commissioner in early November.

Carr has served as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson since 2007. Previously, he served as Isakson’s deputy chief of staff as well as campaign manager of his 2004 U.S. Senate race. Prior to his tenure with Isakson, Carr worked for Georgia-Pacific, as vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and as an attorney with Alston & Bird in Atlanta. He received his law degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the University of Georgia.