He is the long-lost son of the Quaker Oats man, or maybe a time-traveling founding father. Either way, Ernest Moniz is a sellout.
Former President Barack Obama’s former secretary of energy, Moniz just accepted a job with the second-largest utility company in the United States. The board of Southern Co. announced on Tuesday that Moniz will serve as an independent director. According to the company, he will sit on the board’s Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee and the Nominating, Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee.
“Ernie Moniz enhances our board by bringing a strong energy science and technology background together with broad expertise in energy and environmental policy,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Co. But in reality, Moniz will be an expensive figurehead with a revolutionary-war haircut.
His presence immediately increases the standing of the company with his former employees over at the Department of Energy.
Right now, Southern Co. could use the help. They are the only company currently building a nuclear reactor in the United States, and construction of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia is behind schedule and over budget. Last September, the federal government promised to give Southern Co. $3.7 billion in loan guarantees on top of earlier loans worth $8.3 billion.
Moniz might help them get more from his old employees in the coming months. Having a former cabinet member around won’t hurt if Congress finally takes up a new infrastructure bill.