Essential Utilities Announces Appointment of Two Seasoned Executive Leaders

New vice presidents join company in communications and information technology

BRYN MAWR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Essential Utilities Inc. (NYSE: WTRG) announced the appointment of two new members to the company’s executive leadership team: Jeanne Russo joins the company as vice president, communications, and Sumit Nair will assume the role of vice president and chief information officer.

I’m thrilled to welcome Jeanne and Sumit to our growing leadership team,” said Essential Chairman and CEO Christoper H. Franklin. “Their expertise and leadership in communications and information technology, respectively, will be instrumental in helping us achieve our growth and operational goals.”

In her newly created role, Russo will oversee all internal and external communications across the enterprise. She joins Essential with more than 25 years of experience that spans diverse industries, including broadband infrastructure and services, hospitality and retail. Most recently she served as director of financial communications at Qurate Retail Group. Russo also held senior communications positions with Commscope, ARRIS, Google, Motorola and Comcast.

Jeanne brings with her a wealth of communications experience, having worked on top global brands, and her talent and proven leadership will be crucial in elevating Essential, Aqua and Peoples to the communities we serve,” said Franklin. “Essential plays an important role in solving our nation’s water and natural gas infrastructure challenges, and Jeanne will lead our integrated communications efforts to share our narrative in a way that resonates with our customers, employees, regulators, investors and other stakeholders.”

A Philadelphia-area native, Russo received her B.A. in advertising and public relations from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, as well as a business certificate in marketing.

In his role, Nair will oversee 130 IT professionals and execute strategic and operational imperatives to drive Essential’s overall success. Nair previously served as the chief information officer for GeoBlue, a global insurance licensee of Blue Cross Blue Shield, overseeing all information technology functions including technical infrastructure, application development, project management office, information security and disaster recovery.

Sumit will be an important addition to the Essential leadership team at such a poignant time in our company’s history,” said Whitney Kellett, Essential’s SVP of business transformation. “His knowledge, expertise, business acumen and innovative mindset will be critical to the future success of Essential, improving efficiency, protecting our assets and delivering an outstanding customer experience.”

Nair joins Essential as a seasoned global IT executive with nearly 30 years of experience, including positions at GeoBlue, De Lage Landen and Ikon. He holds a master of science in information systems from Penn State University and a bachelor of engineering in computer science and engineering from Bangalore University in India. He was recognized as a Corporate Finalist by the 2022 Philly CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards for his leadership and management at GeoBlue.

Nair’s appointment fills the role previously held by former CIO Kellett, who was promoted to SVP in August. Kellett was also the winner of the 2022 Philly CIO of the Year Enterprise Award.

About Essential

Essential is one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5.5 million people across 10 states under the Aqua and Peoples brands. Essential is committed to excellence in proactive infrastructure investment, regulatory expertise, operational efficiency and environmental stewardship. The company recognizes the importance water and natural gas play in everyday life and is proud to deliver safe, reliable services that contribute to the quality of life in the communities it serves. For more information, visit



Sarah Courtright

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