Southern Company Gas has appointed Senior Vice President of Customer Operations, Safety and Technical Training Robert Duvall to succeed Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) President Jim Kibler, effective Sept. 4. Kibler, who announced plans to retire, will remain with the company for the rest of the year to support the leadership transition and serve as special advisor to Southern Company Gas’ External Affairs department, working with the company’s Washington, D.C. office.
“A leader focused on addressing climate change, Jim’s work has helped Southern Company Gas successfully reduce its annual methane emissions by 50% even while growing its system by 20%,” said Kim Greene, Southern Company Gas chairman, president and CEO. “Jim’s leadership has had a tangible impact on the entire natural gas value chain, and his efforts will have a lasting effect on our company – and the Hampton Roads community – for generations to come. We wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”
Kibler’s commitment to the environment led Southern Company Gas to become a founding member of Our Nation’s Energy (ONE) Future, a coalition of businesses committed to reducing their methane emissions to 1% or less by 2025. In October, VNG pledged to become the first natural gas utility in America to provide its customers with natural gas that is 100% sourced, transported and distributed by companies that have also made this commitment. An active member of his local community, Kibler will continue to serve the region throughout his retirement.
Having served as VNG president from 2014 to 2016, Duvall returns with new experience overseeing customer experience, resource management and employee safety and training for all four Southern Company Gas local distribution companies. As president of VNG, he will continue to drive superior customer service across southeast Virginia, as well as the company’s ongoing commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable fuel. He will report directly to Greene and join the Southern Company Gas Management Council.
“Robert has demonstrated great leadership throughout his entire career, but his work to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers and employees over the course the coronavirus pandemic, in particular, has been exemplary,” said Greene. “His unwavering commitment to putting people first will position both our business and our community for growth and development. With his many years of experience in Virginia, I am confident this transition will be seamless and successful.”
Duvall has spearheaded initiatives that have earned VNG top marks for customer service from J.D. Power, Escalent and others. In 2019, under his guidance, VNG successfully launched a new communications platform, known as “Keep Me Informed,” that proactively communicates with residential customers about their scheduled appointments through text messages. This tool, designed to help customers better manage their busy days, has been invaluable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling the company to guide customers through its safety protocols in advance of employees performing work in their homes.
“Our employees, customers and community leaders in Hampton Roads have always made me feel at home,” said Duvall. “I am looking forward to building on our past work together to create an even cleaner, brighter future for the entire region.”
Duvall joined Southern Company Gas in 1984 as a distribution engineer for its subsidiary Atlanta Gas Light after graduating from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Over the course of his career, he has served in a variety of engineering and operations positions, including as vice president of operations for Virginia Natural Gas and managing director of field operations for Atlanta Gas Light.
Passionate about the health and wellbeing of others, Duvall has worked closely with charitable foundations such as March of Dimes, the Heart Association and Special Olympics. He has served on the board of United Way, supporting the organization’s mission to provide safer, healthier and more prosperous communities for all, and numerous civic boards in both Virginia and Georgia.
About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to nearly 300,000 customers in southeast Virginia and has been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and customer-focused natural gas service providers. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company has also been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, community outreach and educational programs, and was named Local Distribution Company for three consecutive years. Virginia Natural Gas has been ranked by its business customers as being one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states and approximately 700,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.