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Michael Innocenzo, new CEO at PECO (Left), with the Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia, Alicia Kerber, the Chairman of the Pan American Association, Abelardo Lechter, and the General Counsel for PECO, Rommy Diaz. (Photo Courtesy AJC/ALDIA).
Michael Innocenzo, new CEO at PECO (Left), with the Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia, Alicia Kerber, the Chairman of the Pan American Association, Abelardo Lechter, and the General Counsel for PECO, Rommy Diaz. (Photo Courtesy AJC/ALDIA).

Corporate Foresight in Philadelphia

PECO has a new CEO and I had the privilege of meeting him. This is what I learned. 

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I love how our local electric company picks its CEO.

The last two I have met were engineers that rose through the ranks and, after meritorious and long careers tackling the nuts and bolts of the operation, were eventually brought into the board room and vested in with the maximum executive authority in the organization.

Jamie Dimon, the well known Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, defined once corporations as “little dictatorships” where the man at the helm (just a few women, so far, unfortunately) has pretty much absolute power, despite all that talk on board oversight and accountability to the shareholders.

Dimon, who has an excellent sense of humor, was describing power in simple terms, contrasting with extreme examples the exercise of it in the public institutions of our democracy in DC, for example, versus a public corporation in NYC, like his.

Yes, CEOs have power and influence, and the way they exercise defines their character...

Yes, CEOs have power and influence, and the way they exercise both defines their character— not only their personal one, but, more importantly, the one of the organization they lead.

When Michael Innocenzo, who became CEO at PECO in April of this year, decided to walk into AL DÍA’s offices just a few weeks ago, he impressed me.

First, for caring enough to stop by and introduce himself in person, accessible and unpretentious like no other chief executive in town.

Just as a good neighbor does — his office being only four blocks away from mine on Market Street West — with no regard for the size of each other’s responsibilities in Center City Philadelphia, he just walked in.

He employs 2,600 people, is responsible for generating $2.8 billion in annual revenue and for providing utilities services to over 2 million customers in our region.

Michael and I, however, got to know each other better as the two human beings we are, and found out at the end that we have much more in common than being two proud “Villanova Dads.”

I am grateful Michael accepted with little hesitation to be part of the AL DÍA Hispanic Heritage Awards Advisory Board, and his company, in an example of corporate foresight, decided to become the Presenting Sponsor of an event bound to be a major high point in Philadelphia’s Yearbook.

¡GRACIAS, Michael!

 

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