client case study


CEO Tom Voss

Restoring Ameren to high-performance and winning in 4 categories


St. Louis-based Ameren, a generation, transmission and distribution utility providing energy services to approximately 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in Illinois and Missouri, has undergone a significant culture transformation in recent years.


Ameren engaged culture-shaping firm Senn Delaney, a Heidrick & Struggles company, to guide the culture-shaping program that it called “Project Unfreeze” in order to enable short and long-term business strategies as it navigated an increasingly dynamic business environment, rapidly advancing technologies, fluctuating market forces, increased regulatory mandates and evolving customer expectations. In addition, Ameren was facing some very significant challenges that had put the utility in a vulnerable financial position making it difficult to meet the expectations of its constituencies.


Chief Executive Officer Tom Voss and his executive leadership team worked to restore the company to winning, high performance. Voss, retired from Ameren and its board of directors in July 2014, discussed the culture transformation.


Watch interview with former CEO Tom Voss



“Every company has a culture, and it’s established over a long period of time, and if you don’t try and shape it it’ll just tend to get worse. We had some serious gaps in our culture and we really needed to fix them,” says Voss. “If you look at the way our culture is today, it’s significantly different than it was six or seven years ago.”


Voss and his executive leadership team had four clear goals for Ameren that he felt would be achievable through creation of a winning culture to enable them. “We defined winning in four categories. Certainly we wanted to have continuous improvement in safety. We want to have a top tier of customer satisfaction. We want to have a top-tier performance in employee engagement, and we want to have a top-tier performance in total shareholder return”


According to Voss, the culture work has been a big factor in helping Ameren achieve goals of top-tier performance in safety, total return on shareholder value, customer satisfaction, employee engagement and operational excellence, says Voss.


“Ameren is now performing at a very high level, within the top quartile of our industry and certainly within the top half in shareholder return. We actually passed that. We were always in the bottom half. So, it’s been a real turnaround financially. In fact, our financial performance is probably the best it’s ever been compared to our peers, probably at least in the last 20 years.


Voss adds, “Our nuclear plant performed extremely well. It’s one of the best in the country. Our reliability was an all-time best last year. So, almost all aspects of the company now are performing at a very high level.”


Read the case study | read the full article | read more client impact stories

Culture Drives Performance Image