American Water CFO announces retirement; Hardwick named as successor

American Water Works Company Inc., announced Wednesday Linda Sullivan, current executive vice president and chief financial officer, will retire on August 1.

Susan Hardwick will join the company on June 3 and succeed Sullivan as EVP and CFO on July 1, the Camden-based utility company said.

“This is especially bittersweet for me, as Linda and I have been a team since we both began our CFO and CEO jobs on May 8, 2014,” Susan Story, CEO and president of American Water. “She has been an integral part of American Water’s success over the past five years. Her accomplishments are too long to list, but I would highlight that from 2014 through 2018, our EPS has risen at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% our annual dividends have grown at over a 10% CAGR; and our stock price has risen from $46.22 on May 1, 2014 to yesterday’s $108.19 closing share price.

“Linda cares deeply about our employees, our customers, our communities and our shareholders. She has been a CFO I depend on every day to deliver on our fundamentals and to look beyond the horizon to what’s next. She will truly be missed and I thank her for everything she has done for American Water, including helping recruit her successor as well as staying on to ensure a smooth transition.”

Sullivan joined American Water in 2014 as CFO, responsible for all aspects of financial management and strategy.

“This is the hardest career decision I have ever had to make and at the same time one of the easiest personal decisions for me and my family,” Sullivan said. “It was an incredibly hard decision because every day I am inspired by the service we provide and awed by the people that work for American Water. For us, it is a calling to provide a life-sustaining service like water and the past five years have been a positive, life-changing experience.

“And yet, on the personal side, this was an easy decision for me and my family. Our coast-to-coast family is rapidly expanding and my heart is pulling me in a new, exciting direction. I would like to thank Susan Story and the board for being so understanding and gracious about my decision and working with me through a strong succession planning process. I am absolutely thrilled to have Susan Hardwick come on board and look forward to working closely with her through the transition. She will bring tremendous value to American Water.”

Most recently, Hardwick served as EVP and CFO of Vectren, which was recently sold to CenterPoint Energy. She’s also served in leadership roles on a variety of community boards.