David Ratcliffe

"We tried to make sure that there was an opportunity to hear the science that was contrarian."
Chairman, President, and CEO

David Ratcliffe is the president, CEO and chairman of Southern Company, one of America's largest producers of coal fired electricity. Elected by the board of directors in December 2003, Ratcliffe became president of Southern Company in April 2004 and assumed the additional responsibilities of CEO and chairman in July 2004.  In years prior, Ratcliffe worked in executive positions for Georgia Power as well as Southern Co. subsidiaries Mississippi Power and Southern Company Services.

A native of Tifton, Georgia, David Ratcliffe received a bachelor's degree in biology from Valdosta State University in 1970. He received a law degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1975 and is a member of the Georgia Bar Association.

David Ratcliffe’s total compensation in 2009 was $10,804,474.


"Yes I do [think George Bush has been a good leader on climate legislation] because I think he has tried to let the science evolve, tried to encourage the technology, tried to incorporate a global dialog around this issue."

"We're not focused on the science of climate change."

"We tried to make sure that there was an opportunity to hear the science that was contrarian."

-Frontline Interview, Oct. 21, 2008


Ratcliffe serves on the Board of Directors of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a large association of public utility companies.  Prominent members include American Electric Power, Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, Wisconsin Energy, and numerous other electricity companies.  EEI spent over $110 million on lobbying from 2000-2009, weakening climate legislation, fighting renewable energy, and avoiding pollution liability.

Ratcliffe’s indifferent views on the environment earned him a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top 17 Climate Killers.” The magazine wrote that he “actively denies climate change and opposes action on the issue out of sheer business interest.”