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The Houston Exploration Co. announced on Wednesday the appointment of William G. Hargett as president and CEO. He succeeds James G. Floyd who is retiring after holding those positions for 15 years. Houston Exploration said that Hargett's extensive technical expertise within the energy industry, most recently as president, North America at Santa Fe Snyder Corp., make him more than qualified for the job. The company also announced that Randall Fleming, senior vice president, exploration and production, has elected to retire from Houston Exploration. As one of the original members of Houston Exploration, Fleming brought his exploration knowledge to the company's drilling programs in the Gulf of Mexico as well as its onshore programs. Additionally, the company reported that Thomas W. Powers has been promoted to the new position of senior vice president, CFO and treasurer. Houston Exploration will host analyst meetings on Wednesday, April 18 to introduce Hargett and Houston Exploration's management team.

El Paso Corp.'s board elected Basil Woller senior vice president and general auditor and elected Judy Vandagriff senior vice president, tax. Woller joined El Paso in 1979 and has held various tax accounting and audit positions within El Paso Natural Gas before becoming director of corporate audit. In 1997, he became vice president and general auditor for El Paso Corp. Vandagriff became vice president of tax for El Paso in 1996 after the merger with Tenneco Energy. She joined Tenneco in 1990, serving as tax director. Prior to 1990, she was responsible for corporate and regulated tax matters at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Houston.

The board of directors of Southern Company elected President and CEO Allen Franklin as its chairman. Franklin replaces retiring Chairman A.W. "Bill" Dahlberg as the board's new leader. Prior to the board electing him to the CEO position last month, Franklin had served as president and COO of Southern since 1999. From 1994 to 1999, he was president and CEO of Georgia Power, Southern's largest subsidiary.

CMS Energy announced John M. McLaughlin Jr. has been named to the new position of vice president of corporate planning. McLaughlin, 50, will be responsible for managing CMS Energy's financial and strategic planning, financial forecasting and business intelligence activities. In 1998 McLaughlin became CMS Energy's vice president of development for The Americas, Southern Hemisphere, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before that he had been vice president of Latin American development for CMS Energy's independent power unit, CMS Generation Co., since 1993.

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