CEO of the Week: Christopher M. Crane of Exelon

Cleaner air and affordable, reliable energy “are no longer mutually exclusive objectives,” says Exelon's Christopher M. Crane.

Christopher M. Crane is president and CEO of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., an energy provider that does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Its family of companies include Exelon Generation, one of the largest U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity; Constellation, which provides energy products and services to roughly 2 million residential, public sector and business customers; and Exelon’s six utilities, which deliver electricity and natural gas to roughly 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries.

Crain takes a “holistic approach” to management, according to Money. “Many top executives develop tunnel vision,” Money writes. “It’s common because of the overwhelming amount of issues that they must deal with on a day to day basis. Chris Crain doesn’t get bogged down with these.”

“He maintains a holistic approach to conducting business that demonstrates a commitment to safety, regulation of the workforce, observing best financial practices and maintaining operational practices that are on the cutting edge of the industry,” Money writes. “He multi-tasks well with an even distribution of priorities.”

Crane also believes in energy conservation, and says that control of energy consumption will be key over the next decade, according to Money.

In September, the Exelon Foundation and Exelon Corp. launched a new $20 million Climate Change Investment Initiative (2c2i) to cultivate startups working on new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

The Exelon Foundation will contribute $10 million over the next 10 years to fund the initiative, which will focus on clean energy and environmental technologies with potential for wide-scale commercialization. Exelon Corp. will match that grant with up to a $10 million in-kind investment of pro-bono services, including mentoring entrepreneurs on ways to access other sources of capital, structure business plans, allocate financial resources and meet regulatory requirements.

The start-ups also will be able to tap the company’s internal innovation programs – Exelorate Growth, Constellation Technology Ventures and Partnership R&D – for counsel.

“Exelon stands with the majority of our customers who want cleaner air and affordable, reliable energy,” Crane said in the announcement. “With recent advances in technology, these are no longer mutually exclusive objectives. The Exelon Foundation Climate Change Investment Initiative will put us a step closer to a clean energy future by helping entrepreneurs translate their ideas for reversing climate change into practical solutions.”

For more than three decades, Crane has worked in the nuclear industry in progressively more responsible positions. In 2012 he was named CEO of Exelon Corp., previously serving as the company’s president and COO. Crane joined Exelon (then ComEd) in 1998, and was named chief nuclear officer in 2004.

“He was a key player in the dramatic turnaround of ComEd nuclear performance, and the development of Exelon’s proprietary Nuclear Management Model, a codification of industry-leading operational, safety, management, regulatory, workforce and financial practices,” the company writes in his bio. “The model is the key to Exelon Nuclear’s sustained excellence in production, cost and overall effectiveness.”

Crane assumed responsibility for Exelon’s fossil, hydro and renewables facilities, in addition to the nuclear fleet, in 2007.

“He oversaw a broad range of generation and business development initiatives, including new nuclear development, nuclear operating services, development of the nation’s largest urban solar project, innovative decommissioning strategies and asset optimization,” the company writes. “He was instrumental in establishing corporate citizenship and public outreach as a plant priority.”

Crane was named president of Exelon Generation in 2008, with added responsibility for Power Team, Exelon’s former wholesale power trading and competitive retail organization (now part of Constellation).

Prior to joining Exelon, Crane served as Browns Ferry site vice president for Tennessee Valley Authority, and worked in new plant start-up at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Texas and Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona.

He’s No. 91 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Chicago

Age: 59

Education: New Hampshire Technical College, BA; Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program

First joined company (then ComEd):  1998

Prior to joining ComEd: Vice President at Tennessee Valley Authority

Named CEO: 2012