In one of his first major communications with NextEra Energy Inc. after being elected chairman in 2002, Lewis Hay III encouraged his team to take prudent risks.
While being risk-averse had kept the company from making some big mistakes, he told employees that the strategy had also affected the company’s growth. He challenged employees to be more entrepreneurial, and the company has not been the same since.
Under Hay’s direction, employees drive continuous improvement at NextEra Energy, and the pursuit of tactical perfection is relentless. Early in his tenure, Hay convinced the executive team and board of directors to become a major player in the wind business, and today, the company is No. 1 in wind energy in the United States by a large margin. As of 2009, the company had more than $11 billion invested in the business. In 2008, Hay took the company’s wind business international for the first time, approving the acquisition of 85 megawatts in Canada.
Hay continues to be an innovator. NextEra is bringing Florida the solar energy expertise it developed in California, while operating the world’s largest solar fields. Included among the three utility-scale solar energy centers that the company has built or is currently building in Florida is the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the U.S., completed in 2009, and an innovative hybrid power plant combining solar energy with combined-cycle natural gas technology.
Under Hay’s direction, NextEra’s renewable energy business has been built virtually from scratch to Fortune 500 size and the No. 1 position in North America today. NextEra bears little resemblance to the company that Hay took over as CEO in 2001. Hay has set the standard for everyone at the company by investing heavily in a disciplined way in clean energy on a national basis, leading NextEra Energy to the top of the industry in a decade’s time.
How to reach: NextEra Energy Inc., (561) 691-7171 or www.nexteraenergyresources.com