Calvin Butler will head Chicago-based Exelon, owner of BGE, under accelerated succession plan

Calvin G. Butler Jr. is shown in this file photo when he became the CEO of BGE in 2014.

Longtime Baltimore utility executive and business leader Calvin G. Butler Jr. will become one of the nation’s few Black Fortune 500 CEOs later this year after he was tapped Wednesday to become the next CEO of Exelon Corp., which owns Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

Under an accelerated succession plan announced late Wednesday, Exelon’s board of directors elected Butler to serve as president and CEO starting Dec. 31. Butler also will join Exelon’s board.


Butler, who had served as chief operating officer of Exelon from its Baltimore headquarters, was promoted Oct. 17 to an expanded role that included president.

Exelon CEO Chris Crane announced Wednesday that he will retire and also step down from the company’s board of directors Dec. 30 because of health issues.


Crane, CEO since 2012, said he accelerated his retirement plans after learning in recent days that he will require treatment for significant spinal and hip problems. He said he will work with Butler through the end of the year on the transition. The company credited Crane with making Exelon an industry leader in improving the reliability and resilience of the grid and in combating climate change through clean energy generation.

In February, Exelon split its utilities and power generation businesses, and Constellation Energy formed as a stand-alone Baltimore-based public company. Constellation operates power plants and supplies power and natural gas in the competitive retail and wholesale markets.

With its Baltimore headquarters in Harbor Point, Exelon serves more than 10 million customers in five states and Washington, D.C., at six regulated utilities. Besides BGE, they are Delmarva Power on the Eastern Shore, Pepco in Washington, D.C. and its Maryland suburbs, Atlantic City Electric in New Jersey, ComEd in Chicago and PECO in Philadelphia.

Butler joined Exelon in 2008 and has held senior leadership positions at Exelon, ComEd and BGE. He has been instrumental in the growth of the 18,000-employee Exelon during his 14 years in senior leadership, Crane has said.

“We’re not going to miss a beat,” Butler said in an interview Wednesday. “The foundation of who we are as Exelon is solid. ... We will continue on the journey that we’ve been on. There’s no other company in the energy industry that is better positioned to lead the energy transition than Exelon.

“I’m proud of the team. I’m proud of what this represents for not only myself but for Baltimore and Maryland, because we’re going continue to have a significant presence in Maryland.”

Butler said he does not plan to move to Chicago, and will continue to use offices in Harbor Point, though he expects to spend more time in the Chicago office. He said 70% of the company’s assets are located in the mid-Atlantic, so “our presence is going to be committed and will stay there, and we’ll see what the future holds but no decisions have been made at this time.”

Butler will join a small cadre of Fortune 500 CEOs who are Black. Fortune magazine reported in May that only six Fortune 500 companies were led by Black individuals, including the CEOs of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Liberty Interactive, Lowe’s and TIAA.


“The work we do is absolutely vital for the people we serve and the future of our planet,” Crane said in the announcement. “I truly regret that health challenges are requiring me to step away, but I have great faith in Calvin and his leadership abilities, as well as the rest of the team.”

Butler has more than 28 years of leadership experience in the utilities industry and in regulatory, legislative and public affairs. In March 2014, he became CEO of BGE, a position currently held by Carim V. Khouzami.

Butler serves as chair of each Exelon operating company board — BGE, ComEd, PECO and PHI.

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Outside of Exelon, Butler serves as chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a business advocacy group that merged earlier this year with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. Butler was named to that role in October 2020.

Butler said he is committed to seeing the GBC through the merger and the start of a recently named new CEO “and then it’s time for another leader to step up.”

But he said he planned to continue his work as a board member with Baltimore-based organizations such as the Baltimore Community Foundation, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.


Crane joined Exelon, which was then ComEd, in 1998 and was named chief nuclear officer in 2004, before taking over responsibility for Exelon’s fossil, hydro and renewables facilities as well in 2007.

He oversaw a range of generation and business development initiatives, including new nuclear development, nuclear-operating services and development of the nation’s largest urban solar project. Crane became president of Exelon Generation in 2008.

Since becoming CEO, Crane completed mergers with Constellation Energy in 2012 and with Pepco Holdings in 2016 to create the nation’s largest energy company by customer count. Exelon’s utilities serve more than 10 million customers today.

“From building the world’s leading nuclear operating fleet and advocating for the nuclear facilities that provide a significant portion of the nation’s clean energy to building the leading pure transmission and distribution company that Exelon is today, Chris’ focus has been on ensuring a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities,” said John F. Young, chair of the Exelon board, in Wednesday’s announcement.