COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today elected Nicholas K. Akins chairman of the board, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Akins is AEP's president and chief executive officer. Akins, 53, was named AEP president in January 2011 and named chief executive officer in November 2011 following the retirement of Michael G. Morris, former chairman, president and chief executive officer. Morris will be stepping down as non-executive chair of the AEP board at the end of the year but plans to remain a member of the board until AEP's next annual meeting of shareholders in April 2014. "Nick has done an outstanding job as chief executive officer over the past two years. The members of the AEP Board of Directors have the highest confidence in his ability to continue to lead AEP and to assume this expanded leadership role," said Thomas E. Hoaglin, AEP's lead director and chair of the board's Committee on Directors and Corporate Governance. " Mike Morris has provided a decade of extraordinary leadership at AEP for the benefit of the company's employees, customers and shareholders. The expertise, energy and dedication he committed to AEP and the industry throughout his career are immeasurable," Hoaglin said. "Nick has embraced his new role at the helm of AEP and has made an incredibly smooth transition. He is the right person to lead the company to continued success in this time of dynamic change. It has been an honor to be part of AEP's rich history, but now is the appropriate time for Nick to take a larger leadership role at the company," Morris said.