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Name and title: William A. Von Hoene Jr., executive vice president and general counsel Age: 54 Utilities giant: Exelon Corp. is among the largest utility companies in the United States. It distributes electricity to 5.4 million customers in Illinois (including Chicago) and Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia). Its natural gas goes to 480,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. Exelon’s operations include the largest collection of nuclear power plants in the United States — 10 stations with 17 reactors, representing one-fifth of the nation’s nuclear power capacity. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon amasses more than $15 billion in annual revenues, and employs 17,000 people. It ranks No. 144 on Fortune magazine’s list of the country’s largest companies. Daily duties: Von Hoene, “very much a generalist,” is responsible for the entirety of Exelon’s legal affairs, corporate governance and internal audit and controls. He reports to Exelon’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, John W. Rowe. By his own tally, he delves into 25 to 30 different matters daily by phone, in person or by correspondence. A significant segment of Exelon’s business is heavily regulated. Accordingly, Von Hoene interacts continually with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The company’s nuclear plants generate much Nuclear Regulatory Commission-related work. The work force, a large portion of it unionized, generates a vast volume of labor matters. Von Hoene manages litigation and corporate and commercial contracts. Exelon is the product of the largest transaction in the history of the energy industry: the merger, eight years ago, of Unicom Corp. and PECO Corp. Deal making remains a “constant activity” for the legal department. Exelon is one of the largest real estate holders in Chicago and Pennsylvania, and the firm’s corporate expansion department works in tandem with the legal department to analyze potential transactions. An example was Exelon’s recent $250 million acquisition of rights of way to erect new transmission lines for Chicago. Legal team and outside counsel: Exelon’s budget for the legal department allows for 119 full-time employees, 61 of whom are attorneys. An approximate 50-50 split is maintained between in-house and outside work, although the ratio can “vary episodically.” Von Hoene oversees the process of selecting preferred providers. Exelon has settled on 35 firms, having once used as many as 300. Chief among them: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (nuclear, labor, Pennsylvania regulatory); Sidley Austin (corporate, labor); Jenner & Block of Chicago (litigation, environment); New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (federal regulatory); Foley & Lardner (Illinois regulatory); Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll of Philadelphia (regulatory, corporate, securities) and Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg of Chicago (Illinois regulatory). Additional concerns: Recently, Exelon has faced litigation related to tritium, a “modestly radioactive” substance that is discharged from nuclear facilities. The company has permits allowing certain levels of tritiated water to enter streams, but unintended leakage has spawned several suits. Von Hoene and his team have a threefold response: protect the company’s interests, ensure the necessary remediation and provide education about the substance. Given the nature of its business, Exelon has an especially high security sensitivity, and it has met or exceeded all post-9/11 security measures mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The legal department supports these efforts, along with various environmental health initiatives, and is concerned with the safety of its employees. Von Hoene works on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, but finds that less time-consuming now that the company’s regulatory architecture is in place. The department does not directly engage in lobbying, but Von Hoene and team collaborate with colleagues who do focus on legislation. Exelon monitors climate change issues and laws at the national and local levels. It is moving away from “dirty” coal and carbon, while searching for clean and renewable sources of electrical energy, he said. It encourages energy-efficiency programs. According to the Von Hoene, “How we deal with climate change will have a profound effect on the industry. We [at Exelon] are committed to eradicating our own carbon footprint by 2020.” Passion for pro bono: Von Hoene is the recipient of the 2007 Association of Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Award. Exelon’s team works with its preferred law firms to increase the scope, size and resources of pro bono projects. Pro bono activities are a “passion” for Von Hoene, who says that public service “adds flavor” to his job. Von Hoene led a birth-certificate clinic that resulted in 250 indigents receiving that key document. Exelon lawyers have participated in an Alabama death penalty case. Von Hoene aggressively pushes diversity at his outside law firms. He monitors 19 of the firms that have historically been white and male, tracking the percentage of dollars spent on work done by women lawyers or attorneys of color. Route to present position: Exelon’s legal chief joined the company in 2002 as vice president and deputy general counsel in charge of litigation, with subsequent promotions to senior vice president, acting general counsel, general counsel, then executive vice president. Before his arrival, Von Hoene was a senior partner at Jenner & Block, specializing in civil and white-collar criminal litigation. He practiced at the firm from 1983 until 2002, also chairing the pro bono and diversity committees. Following law school, he clerked for a federal judge and practiced at a small law firm. Von Hoene received a bachelors degree from Yale University in 1976 and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1980. Personal: Denver-born Von Hoene and his wife, Nikki Zollar, have three children: Grant Sanders, 22; William L. Von Hoene, 21; and Branden Zollar, 17. He serves on the boards of directors for the Joffrey Ballet and the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. He fills his spare time with reading, exercising and enjoying his family. Last book and movie: “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” by Adam Hochschild, and “There Will Be Blood.”

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