Butler, 42, Exelon's senior vice president of corporate affairs, took up residence at Spinnaker Bay apartments in Harbor East for almost a year while he served as the company's eyes and ears in Maryland.
The $7.9 billion merger closed last month. While Butler is back in Chicago, he will continue to spend time in Baltimore, where Exelon will merge its retail energy business with Constellation's. The business is expected to be the combined company's growth engine, though the deal will likely result in the elimination of 630 positions companywide due to job overlaps.
The Baltimore Sun recently spoke with Butler about his role in pushing through the merger, Exelon's plans as Baltimore's newest corporate citizen, and the headquarters tower to be built at Harbor Point.
What was your role as Exelon's point man in Maryland for the merger?
My primary role was to introduce Exelon to the community — policymakers, regulators, business community, not-for-profits and the like to tell our story about why we thought the merger was not only beneficial for our shareholders but also for Maryland and the city of Baltimore.
On the ground, if there was any question, I wanted someone to have a place to call to [get an] answer [to] that question. I didn't want any speculation. … I tried to be everywhere, to speak to groups no matter how small or big. To dispel rumors. To be the face of the company out there. To say who we are.
What kind of reception did you get?
It depended on the audience. As I always say, it's much harder to be rude to a person than a company. Everyone was receptive. We had active debate. Depending on the organization, the debate centered around energy efficiency, low-income customers or [charitable] contributions.
They were active conversations. And when we had areas of disagreement, we committed to work together going forward.
What about critics?
I specifically targeted them. I wanted to know what were the concerns. If I didn't know the concerns, I couldn't address them.
My whole goal was to try to address as many issues upfront, so by the time we got into the [Maryland Public Service Commission] process we knew our issues and addressed them if we could and reached agreements if we could do that.
We wanted to come into the community in the right way.
How do your efforts pay off?
We got it done. …
From the feedback we've received from others in the state, the General Assembly and business community, they were receptive and appreciated the fact that we made the commitment to get out and talk. I don't attribute that to me. I attribute that to the fact that we were here, and [the point person] happened to be me.
What kind of corporate citizen will Exelon be in the state?