Duke Energy recently named longtime executive Steve Young as the company’s newest chief financial officer. After the change in executive management, Young announced his plans to continue focusing on the company’s earnings goals, growing dividend, strengthening the balance sheet, and improving credit ratings.
Young is replacing outgoing CFO Lynn Good. Young has been with Duke Energy since 1980, when he joined as a financial assistant. With his deep insight in the company’s inner workings and financial profile, Young intends to continue shifting the company toward a pay-as-you-go model for plants and similar structures that will be opened in the future.
Furthermore, Young is grappling how to deal with rate hikes in the Carolinas, especially with new environmental standards being pushed by state and federal politics. As the control on carbon dioxide emissions increases, Young is working to balance these initiatives with financial prudence.
CFO Insights Revealed
Young’s future financial strategies for Duke Energy reveal a growing trend for new and old CFOs alike: concerns for financial executives are mounting, and they must learn to deal the with the various issues that keep them up at night. So what, exactly, should CFOs focus on to minimize these headaches and keep their companies progressing in the right direction?
- Fragility in the US economy. Young recently canceled plans to construct a Levy Country nuclear plant, angering many Floridian residents. His decision, which was called a “smart move at this time,” is reflective of the state of the US economy. CFOs and companies not only have to think about long-term effects of their business, but can’t afford the big risks they could have a few years ago.
- Identifying opportunities for growth. By strengthening the balance sheet while improving the company’s credit ratings, Young is identifying growth avenues for Duke Energy. Likewise, CFOs should be aggressive in finding where future opportunities will arise and how they can be developed to the fullest extent.
- Acknowledging government regulations. Because carbon emissions and other environmental issues directly affect Duke Energy, Young must consider the financial effect these regulations have. Similarly, regulations in every industry should be a prime concern for every CFO.