Kansas City, Mo. Former Kansas City Power & Light Co. chairman and chief executive Drue Jennings will join the law firm of Shughart Thomson & Kilroy in October, the firm announced this week.
Jennings, a lawyer, will be senior counsel in the firm's corporate practice group.
"I'll work with clients on strategic business work that involves lawyers," Jennings said. "I had exposure to merger and acquisition activity from the management standpoint and I'll do some of that."
Jennings, 57, retired as chairman and chief executive of Kansas City Power & Light nearly four years ago. A former Kansas University football player, Jennings in April 2003 was appointed the university's interim athletic director. He served for three months until Lew Perkins, whom he helped lure from Connecticut, was hired.
Jennings recently was selected chairman of the new Heartland Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. The association provides senior executives who serve on corporate and nonprofit boards with research and education on corporate governance and financing.
Jack Kilroy Jr., managing director of Shughart Thomson, said Jennings was a KU law school classmate of Shughart partners Tom Kokoruda and Dan Boulware. Kilroy said Boulware was instrumental in luring Jennings to the firm.
"We're excited about it. We see him working in our general corporate practice, bringing the advantages of his experience as legal counsel, as business counsel and as a community counselor," Kilroy said.
KCP&L is a client of Shughart Thomson, which has about 170 lawyers and is the fifth-largest law firm based in Kansas City.
Jennings worked for a small general-practice law firm in Olathe before joining KCP&L's legal staff in 1974. He became the utility's president in 1987, its chief executive in 1988 and its chairman in 1991. He left KCP&L at the end of 2000.
Prominent in local civic affairs, he helped lead the effort to save Union Station and was active in a variety of organizations, including the Full Employment Council and the Minority Supplier Council. He also was a co-founder of Kansas City Harmony.
Jennings said because of his workload at KCP&L, he had taken inactive status as a lawyer and would need to take some continuing legal education courses to reactivate his Missouri license.
"I'm a little rusty," he said. "I'll need some industrial strength WD-40, but I'm excited about it."