Salute to an inspirational, purpose-driven CEO
Ameren CEO Tom Voss provides many lessons as he retires from a successful run leading Ameren
May 20, 2014
In my many years of working with CEOs and their teams to create thriving, high-performance cultures driven by a higher purpose, I’ve been grateful to have worked with many inspired and inspiring leaders. One such leader is Tom Voss, CEO of Ameren, the St. Louis-based electric and gas utility.
Tom is retiring in July, 2014 after a storied career at Ameren where he dedicated himself to serving shareholders, customers and a generation of Ameren employees since 1969. During his five years as CEO, he cast an amazing leadership shadow. He inspired his team to create a compelling purpose and a clear vision and strategy for the future that has resulted in a significant turnaround, financially and operationally.
A few years ago, Ameren engaged our firm to guide a culture transformation to enable short and long-term business strategies. Ameren was navigating an increasingly dynamic business environment, rapidly advancing technologies, fluctuating market forces, increased regulatory mandates and evolving customer expectations. In addition, Ameren was facing some very significant challenges that had put the utility in a vulnerable financial position making it difficult to meet the expectations of its constituencies. I am proud that our work together contributed to a very different Ameren.
I was delighted to recently sit down with Tom to capture his thoughts on Ameren’s “Project Unfreeze” culture journey. I hope you will take the time to watch the video interview with Tom in this newsletter. It’s an education in how to shape a culture the right way, leading from Ameren's purpose — to power the quality of life — and always striving for excellence.
Watch the full video interview with Tom Voss
There is also another wonderful story within this story: the power of purpose beyond companies and into the communities they serve.
Tom is deeply grounded in the concept of Shadow of a Leader. He recognizes that he casts a powerful shadow in his organization and the community, and he is making a tremendous difference by how he behaves and presents himself as he serves on several national industry boards. As busy as he is, he also is deeply committed, as is his wife Carol, to living Ameren’s purpose through their work with several St. Louis area civic and arts organizations, including co-chairing STL 250, a full year of celebrating the 250thanniversary of the founding of St. Louis.
Tom and his wife Carol were gracious in spending time with me to share views on the importance of making a difference in their community. Please take the time to watch this video because it really is a shining example of how Tom and Carol, individually and together, bring Ameren’s purpose to life through their philanthropic work in the community.
Watch the video with Tom and Carol
Tom’s vision and personal commitment to the culture made a significant difference in restoring Ameren to winning, high performance after some turbulent years. Ameren is now performing at a very high level, within the top quartile of its industry and within the top half in shareholder return. Reliability is at an all-time high and employee safety has never been better.
The executive leadership team under Tom is aligned, engaged and represents a powerful stance leading the company going forward. Tom will leave Ameren and the incoming CEO Warner Baxter with a winning legacy for continued success. We wish Tom and Carol all the best in their future endeavors as they continue to power the quality of life for everyone in their personal and professional endeavors