Tom Farrell retiring from Dominion Energy
Farrell has led Fortune 500 utility since 2006
After 14 years leading Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc., Thomas F. Farrell II is retiring as the utility’s executive chairman, effective April 1, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings submitted by the Fortune 500 company last week. Farrell is also stepping down from the company’s board of directors; he will remain on for two months as a special adviser to Dominion President and CEO Robert Blue, who also takes over as board chairman April 1.
“Tom has been an extraordinary leader and mentor to all of us at Dominion Energy, running the company with a nimble, steady hand,” Blue said in a communication to Dominion employees. “We have all benefited, and will continue to do so, from his vision and commitment to improve the communities we serve and build the most sustainable energy company in America.”
Farrell could not be reached for comment for this story.
His retirement comes on the heels of a March 23 announcement that Farrell was also stepping down from Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc.’s board of directors, which Farrell has chaired since April 2020. Farrell’s retirements from Dominion and Altria were both filed with the SEC on the same day. He had previously transitioned from Dominion’s president and CEO to executive chair in October 2020, leading to Blue’s ascension as Dominion’s top leader.
One of the state’s most powerful leaders, Farrell also chairs the state GO Virginia board, which allocates funding for economic development projects across Virginia. He has served on the boards of visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, for which he also served as rector. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree from the University of Virginia.
A former Army brat, he wrote, funded and produced the 2014 film, “Field of Lost Shoes,” which focused on the 250 teen cadets from Virginia Military Institute who fought for the Confederates during the Battle of New Market in 1864.
Dominion’s annual revenue for 2020 was $14.17 billion. Under Farrell’s leadership, Dominion tripled its philanthropic giving and came close to doubling its earnings per share.
Farrell joined Dominion in 1995 as its general counsel, having previously represented the company as part of a team of attorneys at McGuireWoods. He became its president and CEO in 2006. He was elected chairman of its board in 2007.
In recent years, Farrell has led the utility towards more sustainable sources of energy, including expansions into solar and offshore wind.
Last summer, Dominion canceled its long-delayed $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline and sold its gas transmission and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for almost $10 billion, with Farrell saying that Dominion would be narrowing its focus on its utilities business. As part of a state initiative to shift to carbon-free energy production by 2050, Dominion last year completed the pilot phase of its proposed $7.8 billion, 2,640-megawatt wind farm 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Scheduled for completion in 2026, it is planned to be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, with at least 180 giant wind turbines.
Farrell has also been a prime player in state and local politics. He served on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s five-person transition committee and also led the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform. Farrell’s son Peter served three terms in the Virginia House of Delegates. And Farrell’s brother-in-law is former state Attorney General Richard Cullen, former chairman of McGuireWoods.
In early 2020, amid community opposition, Richmond City Council defeated the $1.5 billion Navy Hill downtown redevelopment plan Farrell had spearheaded in an attempt to replace the aging Richmond Coliseum.
Among his many civic positions, Farrell is a past chairman of the Edison Electric Institute and is a past member of the board of trustees for both the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.