Southern CEO Fanning preparing to announce retirement – Bloomberg via Getty Images

Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) has begun a search to replace longtime CEO Tom Fanning, who plans to announce his retirement from the job by the end of this year, although he may remain with the company in some capacity, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Fanning told Bloomberg in an interview that he has been considering a succession plan, but he hoped to stay on until the company completes its long-troubled effort to expand the Vogtle nuclear plant.

Southern has a mandatory retirement age of 65 for executives, but a company spokesperson said the board has extended the age limit indefinitely for Fanning based in part on his leadership of Vogtle.

The project to add two new reactors is currently scheduled for completion next year, with the first reactor ready by April, but the project is at least seven years behind schedule and the cost has ballooned to ~$30B.

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