Christopher Luning is executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary for Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE: WTRG). Upon the closing of Peoples, Essential will become one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million people across 10 states.
In this role, he is the Company’s chief legal counsel and oversees and provides strategic direction for the Company’s legal and risk management departments. Luning provides direction on all matters related to Essential and its subsidiaries, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, risk management, and board matters.
In his role, Luning has contributed to the Company’s growth strategy focusing on acquiring municipal water and wastewater systems and pursuing strategic utility M&A and seeking complementary market-based businesses. Since 2016, the Company has acquired 40 water and wastewater systems, including the pending acquisition of the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA), the largest municipal transaction in Company history. Luning also played a critical role in the Company’s pending acquisition of natural gas distribution company Peoples, including leading the Company’s negotiations in the acquisition agreement and its efforts for the Company’s successful $2 billion secondary public equity offering and $900 million initial public debt offering to secure financing for the pending Peoples acquisition and other corporate purposes.
Luning has held his current role since 2012. Previously, he held the position of vice president, corporate development and was responsible for leading the Company’s corporate development activities, contributing to the Company tripling its customer base in the previous 10-year period. Luning joined the Company in 2003 as assistant general counsel and in 2005 was promoted to vice president and deputy general counsel.
Prior to joining the Company, Luning worked at Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., a NYSE-traded home builder, and as an attorney in private practice.
Luning is the executive sponsor to the Company’s Black Resource Group.
Luning earned his B.S. in business and political science from Albright College and his J.D. from Villanova University. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.