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Retired Executives Hintz and Kingsley Honored With Nuclear Industry's Top Leadership Award

MIAMI—Donald Hintz and Oliver Kingsley Jr., respected executives who capped their careers leading the two U.S. companies that operate the largest number of nuclear power plants, were honored today with the industry’s William S. Lee Award for Leadership at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference here.

Hintz retired in 2004 as president and chief executive officer of Entergy Corp. after 12 years at the helm of the company that today operates 12 nuclear power plants in eight states. Under his stewardship, Entergy became the first energy company in the nation to buy another nuclear power plant. Entergy paved the way for industry consolidation throughout the first half of this decade with the purchase of the 670-megawatt Pilgrim power station in Massachusetts from Boston Edison in 1999.

Kingsley retired in 2004 as president and CEO of Exelon Corp., where he was instrumental in implementing the merger between Commonwealth Edison, PECO and AmerGen that resulted in Exelon becoming the nation’s largest nuclear plant operator with 17 reactors in three states. His prowess at demanding, achieving and sustaining operational excellence was evidenced by vast improvements in reactor operations first at the Tennessee Valley Authority and later with Exelon.

“The lifetime commitment to excellence in safety and efficient performance and the leadership exhibited by these two men has helped raise the bar for all nuclear plants,” said John Rowe, NEI board chairman and the chairman and CEO of Exelon, in presenting the Lee Award.

“These two also were among the first to recognize the business opportunities that nuclear energy represented in the 1990s. They worked to acquire new nuclear plants while enhancing efficiencies at existing nuclear plants.”

Rowe noted that, when Hintz joined Entergy in 1989, the three-year average capacity factor – a measure of efficiency – for the company’s four reactors was 74 percent. When he retired, the three-year average capacity factor for the same four reactors was 98 percent. During his tenure, Entergy’s nuclear power generation grew to 10 power plants with an average capacity factor of 95 percent.

“Over his long career, Don has become one of our most effective statesmen among lawmakers, regulators and the financial community,” Rowe said.

NEI President and CEO Frank L. “Skip” Bowman participated in the presentation and likewise praised the leadership and stewardship of the recipients.

“Both Don and Oliver are true legends in our industry for their storied and successful leadership styles,” Bowman said.

Rowe praised Kingsley for his substantial role in making the U.S. nuclear energy industry “the envy of the global nuclear industry.” Rowe noted that, after leaving Exelon, Kingsley continued to advance excellence in nuclear plant operation as president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). He described Kingsley as “one of the rare leaders who can shape the future while deftly guiding the issues of the day.”

The William S. Lee Award for Industry Leadership was renamed in Lee’s honor following his death in 1996. Lee, one of the industry’s most vocal safety advocates, was chairman emeritus of Duke Power Co. when he died. Lee was the first recipient of the industry’s leadership award in 1995.

“Bill Lee was a giant in the nuclear industry, providing industry leadership during the difficult and emotional days after the accident at Three Mile Island. Bill was also very instrumental in the formation of WANO. I am deeply honored to receive an award from my peers bearing Bill Lee’s name,” Hintz said.

Upon receiving the award, Kingsley said, “There is a clear line from Bill Lee through people like Don (Hintz) and me to the current generation of nuclear leadership. He set the vision that helped us see the potential of nuclear energy and drove its development that created many of the paradigms we still operate within today. It is an honor for me to be associated with his name.”


The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s web site at