T&D World Magazine

Ellen Krohne: Agent of Change

Change is inevitable, but according to Ellen Krohne, it can be positive and energizing. Krohne will present a session on organizational change management at T&D University in October. She is a director of outsourcing business development at Capgemini and brings the right experience to teach about change.

In 2004, she led TXU and Capgemini through a massive organizational change--the formation of a new business service company for utilities. The 10-year-agreement was valued in excess of $3.5 billion, and about 2700 employees moved from TXU to Capgemini Energy to provide information technology, call center, billing, human resources, supply chain and accounts payable, and finance and accounting services to TXU and other companies. The Capgemini Energy Joint Venture was the single largest outsourcing deal signed in 2004.

Capgemini is a global provider of consulting, technology, outsourcing, and local professional services. Headquartered in Paris, France, it operates in more than 30 countries. Capgemini has a major focus in the utility sector in North America, with several large utilities as outsourcing clients: TXU, Hydro One, OPG, Bruce Power. It offers SmartTrack, a business process outsourcing solution to utilities with customer care, meter–to–cash, and back–office business services. Krohne said that change management is one aspect of SmartTrack.

Krohne is based in southern Illinois and is currently a utility industry specialist and a director of outsourcing services, focused on business development and client delivery activities.

“When we decide to deal with change proactively and with practical actions, it can be positive and energizing,” Krohne said. “The utility industry in North American will continue to evolve and change, and leaders in this industry best able to guide stakeholders through change as the industry transforms are needed now more than ever.”
Krohne’s T&DUniversity presentation will focus on how to deal with people in these situations, which are coming up all the time.

“Dealing with people issues and resistance to change is a crucial leadership skill,” Krohne said.

Krohne has led teams of people and done many presentations and group discussions to develop alignment and understanding of business objectives and plans. From basic changes to massive reengineering, Krohne’s experience qualifies her to teach these leadership skills.

She actually started in the utility industry right out of high school as an IBEW Union member and a customer service representative with Illinois Power (now Ameren Illinois). She worked her way up through the ranks to vice president of customer service and business development. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a night student while working part time.

In the late 90s as managing director of sales and marketing at Illinois Power, she was active in the deregulation lobby and then counteracted potential customer erosion as a result of the deregulation by creating marketing strategies and service strategies.

Before she came to Capgemini three years ago, she was the team lead on a massive reengineering of Illinois Power’s field services and customer operations functions. As vice president of business development at Illinois Power, she created and led a start-up business to sell customer care capabilities and information technology systems. As vice president of customer service before that, she created new vision and direction for customer care, leading a team of 200 employees.

Krohne’s experience also includes presentations at utility conferences, and facilitation and consulting. She was a guest instructor for her daughter’s MBA class, teaching Change Management and Outsourcing 101. Other past speaking engagements include the EPRI Asset Management Workshop, EEI/AGA Customer Service Conferences, Chartwell’s Energy Marketing Conference, T&D World Outsourcing Summit and EUCI Outsourcing Conferences.

Krohne travels a lot in her current role, but also enjoys traveling with her husband in her spare time. Gardening is another activity she enjoys; she said it goes “back to my being raised on a farm.”

She has a passion for people, however, and for helping them to cope with and even embrace change.

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