CEOs of SBC Directory Services, TXU Corporation to be Featured at CEO Forum


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo, Oct. 18, 2005 — Southeast Missouri State University and the Harrison College of Business are hosting a CEO Forum Oct. 28 in conjunction with Homecoming 2005 activities.

The CEO Forum will feature two prominent business leaders – Dennis Payne, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of SBC Directory Services, Inc., and C. John Wilder, president and CEO of TXU Corporation. Both are alumni of Southeast Missouri State University and recipients of this year’s Alumni Merit Award.  The CEO Forum is scheduled for noon to 1:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Robert A. Dempster Hall at Southeast Missouri State University. The session is open to the public.  No advance reservations are required.

The two will discuss the current state of their respective industries and changes they envision over the next decade. They also will discuss effective leadership and “developing” people who generate appropriate returns for the investment community. They also will address critical factors that contribute to the development of individuals on management teams. The two will talk about balancing short term expectations from Wall Street with what is required for the long term growth of their companies.

As graduates of Southeast Missouri State, Payne and Wilder will provide insights on valuable lessons learned during their college days that have contributed to their success today.

Moderating the forum will be Rex Rust, co-president of Rust Communications. Rust Communications operates the Southeast Missourian and holds interests in more than 40 other newspapers and 12 separate printing operations throughout the Midwest.

Later in the day on Oct. 28, Payne and Wilder will be presented with Southeast’s Alumni Merit Awards which honor distinguished alumni.  The awards have been given since 1958 to graduates of Southeast who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University.  Representatives of the Alumni Association will present the awards at the Copper Dome Society/Merit Award Dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.

 Photo of Dennis PayneDennis Payne(View larger image of Dennis Payne)

Dennis Payne graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974 with a degree in business administration and received his master’s degree in the same subject from St. Louis University in 1984.  He has been the president and chief executive officer of SBC Directory Operations since 2001.  He is responsible for all functions of the 13-state, $3.7 billion business, which is the largest print and online yellow pages operation in the world.  The company publishes 704 SBC Yellow Pages titles and provides one of the fastest-growing Internet Yellow Pages sites at He was instrumental in the merger planning process following SBC’s acquisition of Pacific Bell, Southern New England Telephone and Ameritech.  He is also leading development of the evolving Internet Yellow Pages field, most recently, through a joint venture between SBC and BellSouth.  The companies are combining all local content and traffic into one site under the intuitive brand of With 30 years of directory experience, Payne is an expert and leader in the industry, currently serving as chairman of the Yellow Pages Association and on the board of the Association of Directory Marketing.


 Photo of C. John WilderC. John Wilder(View larger image of C. John Wilder)

C. John Wilder graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration before receiving his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas.  He is chairman and chief executive officer of Texas-based TXU Corp., a Fortune 100 company as measured by market capitalization.  In his 25-year career, Wilder has pioneered industry-leading practices and innovative solutions and has achieved two of the most successful financial and operational turnarounds in the energy industry.  Especially good at building talented management teams and motivating employees, Wilder is leading a dramatic transformation of TXU following the company’s severe financial crisis in 2002.  Since joining TXU in early 2004, he has elevated customer service to world-class levels, rebuilt the balance sheet, strengthened financial flexibility, reinvigorated a commitment to community service and philanthropy, and put TXU on a clear path to become a high-performance commercial enterprise that can compete with the best industrial businesses in America.  TXU’s stock price has jumped 300 percent, the dividend has increased 350 percent, and two of the company’s three businesses have become industry leaders.  In 2004, TXU achieved the second best total shareholder return among the S&P companies.

Wilder is exhibiting the same drive and passion at TXU he was known for in his 18 years with Shell and six years at Entergy Corporation, where he was named Best CFO in America by Institutional Investor.  At TXU, he has been awarded Ten Best CEOs in America and Top CEOs in the Industry by Institutional Investor, Best Investor Relations by a CEO by Investor Relations Magazine, runner-up for CBS MarketWatch’s CEO of the Year and Best New Alexis de Tocqueville Award for Most Significant Increase in Contributions by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.  Wilder’s personal philanthropy focuses on support of at-risk children and families and promotion of higher education, including serving on the advisory boards of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and the Global Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston as well as co-founding the Entergy-Tulane Energy Institute.