2018 AFCF CEO Coach of the Year - Thomas A. Fanning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                               February 26, 2018
AFCF CONTACT: Vince Thompson, Director of Media Relations                                            (254) 754-9900


WACO, TEXAS – The American Football Coaches Foundation® today announced that Tom Fanning, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Company, is the 2018 recipient of its CEO Coach of the Year® Award.

This is the highest honor bestowed by the organization, whose inaugural recipient in 2006 was Jeffrey R. Immelt, former CEO of General Electric. Other former winners include: Former Domino’s Pizza CEO David Brandon (2007); former MidAmerican Energy Holdings CEO David Sokol (2008); former HP CEO Mark Hurd (2009); FedEx Corp. Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith (2010); BP Capital L.P. Chairman and CEO T. Boone Pickens (2011); NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (2012); former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson (2013); AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson (2014); Berkshire Hathaway Energy Chairman and CEO Greg Abel (2015) and former Honeywell Chairman and CEO David Cote (2016).

“I am honored to receive the 2018 CEO Coach of the Year Award and join such an amazing group of recipients,” Fanning said. “My fondest memories are recalled from the decades I spent coaching youth sports. While the goal was to guide my teams to victory, the purpose was to teach the athletes principles such as teamwork, discipline and leadership to prepare them to become the type of citizens who make our communities a better place to live because they are there. Thank you to the American Football Coaches Foundation and the entire membership and staff of the American Football Coaches Association for this tremendous honor.”

Fanning was selected for the award by a unanimous vote of the AFCF® Board of Directors. He will be honored at The Foundation’s CEO Coach of the Year Dinner, held at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta on April 23, 2018.

“Tom Fanning is one of the best CEO’s in America and his leadership at Southern Company is moving the needle on the future of energy,” AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry said. “The AFCF Board of Directors voted him our 2018 AFCF CEO Coach of the Year for a reason. He is one of the great business leaders in our country, and as a former coach and player, he knows the impact coaches can have on our society."

Fanning was elected president of Southern Company in July of 2010, and took over the additional responsibilities of chairman and CEO in December 2010. He has been with Southern Company for over 35 years and has held 15 different positions under eight different business units during that time. Before being named chairman, president and CEO, Fanning served as chief operating officer, where he was responsible for Southern Company’s generation and transmission, engineering and construction services, research and environmental affairs, system planning and competitive generation business units. He was also responsible for the business strategy of Southern Company and was director of Southern Nuclear, Southern Company’s nuclear plant operating company.

Prior to being COO, Fanning was the company’s chief financial officer where he was responsible for the accounting, finance, tax, investor relations, treasury and risk management functions. In that position, he was the chief risk officer and was responsible for corporate strategy. Before being named CFO, Fanning was the president and CEO of Gulf Power.

Fanning does a lot work away from the Southern Company boardroom as he serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He also serves on the board of directors of Vulcan Materials Company and is a member of the Business Roundtable. Fanning is on the advisory board of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, the board of trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation, the board of directors of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the regional governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators’ Atlanta Centre.

Fanning is co-chair of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which serves as the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power sector to protect the electric grid from threats that could impact national security, including cyber and physical terrorism as well as natural disasters. He is also a member of the international advisory board of the Atlantic Council, which promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs, and the American Energy Innovation Council, a group of America’s leading business executives working to build broad bipartisan support for public and private investments in innovation.

Fanning earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial management and also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Georgia Tech.

The funds raised from the CEO Coach of the Year dinner will support the AFCF’s educational initiatives through the American Football Coaches Association’s publications, website and annual convention. More than 6,000 football coaches from all levels attend the annual convention, and more than 11,000 football coaches globally benefit through personal, technical and leadership development. Because of The Foundation, football coaches on all levels nationwide pay minimal membership dues.

The AFCF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established by the American Football Coaches Association in 1998 to fund its educational mission. Its specific responsibility is to seek contributions from a broad range of donors – friends, businesses, corporations foundations and trusts – to support and implement existing AFCA educational programs; and to develop exciting and dynamic new initiatives that will serve the coaches, the student-athletes and the schools they represent. Contributions generated by The Foundation will ensure that the coaching community will continue to have the finest possible professional development and educational tools, now and in the future.


“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School