MILWAUKEE, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC) has elected J. Patrick Keyes, 46, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the corporation and its utility subsidiaries, effective Sept. 1, 2012. Keyes succeeds Frederick "Rick" Kuester, who will retire in January 2013 at the age of 62. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120730/CG48795-a) (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120730/CG48795-b) "Rick has made countless contributions to our success over the past nine years," said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive of Wisconsin Energy. "He led our generation business, successfully guiding the completion of the company's Power the Future plan -- the largest construction program in Wisconsin history. More recently, he has served with distinction as our chief financial officer. We wish him the very best in the years ahead." Kuester will continue to serve as an executive vice president reporting to Klappa, assisting with the leadership transition until his retirement in 2013. "Through our succession planning process, we have in place a highly competent successor to Rick," Klappa said. " Pat Keyes has extensive knowledge of the utility industry. His background and his financial expertise have prepared him well for his new role," Klappa added. Keyes has been serving as vice president and treasurer since joining the company's leadership team in 2011. Keyes has nearly 25 years of experience in the utility practice at Accenture and its predecessor organizations, Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen. During that time, Keyes worked with more than 20 major utilities, providing expertise in the areas of smart metering, customer information systems, customer information management and utility customer operations. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Duke University and an MBA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Michigan. Keyes will report to Klappa.