CHICAGO — The Exelon family is mourning the loss of former CEO, John Rowe, who passed away on Sept. 24 after a brief illness.
Rowe was a legendary leader who left an indelible mark on our company, our industry and communities across our service territories. Throughout his career, he was a leading voice on energy and environmental policy, delivering policy addresses and testifying before Congress, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, state regulators and others.
“John was a pioneer of industry efforts for utility restructuring and a fierce advocate for environmental stewardship and diversity in the industry,” said Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon.
Following the Constellation merger, Rowe retired from Exelon in 2012 as the industry’s longest serving CEO. In 1984, he was named CEO of Central Maine Power then led New England Electric System (NEES), prior to joining Unicom – the former parent company of ComEd – in 1998. He transformed the companies he led, turning them around financially and operationally, and building strong reputations. Among his myriad awards, Institutional Investor in 2008 and 2009 named him the best electric utility CEO in America.
As Exelon's CEO, Rowe oversaw the transformation of the Exelon nuclear fleet into a world-class operation, as well as the improvement of ComEd reliability to a top performer. He managed the successful merger of PECO and Unicom to form Exelon in 2000. His impact at Exelon wasn’t only about the operations and company structure. He instilled a solid foundation of financial discipline that still drives Exelon’s success today. And he embedded values in our culture that were core to who he was – a deep commitment to the environment and our diversity, equity and inclusion values.
Rowe served as chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute and the Edison Electric Institute, and he served on President Obama’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. He also co-chaired the National Commission on Energy Policy.
“The only thing that may have outpaced John’s commitment to our company, customers and industry, was his commitment to the community,” Crane said. “He strongly believed utilities can and must play a central role their communities, and under his leadership, Exelon became an important part of the social fabric in the communities we serve.”
His personal commitment to helping others was inspiring. He and his wife Jeanne established the Rowe Family Charitable Trust, giving millions of dollars to higher education, the arts and community health organizations. He was particularly proud of the Foundation’s substantial commitment to founding the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy charter high school – along with former ComEd CEO Frank Clark – and the Rowe Elementary charter school, both in underserved areas of Chicago. Rowe received many well-deserved awards from civic organizations throughout his career and retirement.
Funeral services will be held in Florida on Oct. 6. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to:
- Rowe Center for Virology Research C/O Morgridge Institute, 330 North Orchard Street, Madison WI 53715. Morgridge.org
- The Big Shoulders Fund, 212 West Van Buren Street Suite # 900, Chicago IL 60607, (773) 273-2038. bigshouldersfund.org
- Misericordia, 6300 North Ridge Avenue, Chicago IL 60660, (773) 273-2038. misericordia.com
In Rowe’s honor, Exelon is making a donation to Chicago-based charities Big Shoulders Fund and Misericordia.
Information about the service and ways to honor John Rowe’s life is available here.