The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber) is pleased to announce that Denis P. O’Brien, Senior Executive Vice President of Exelon Corporation, will receive the 2019 William Penn Award, the highest honor presented to a business or civic leader in Greater Philadelphia.

The award, which has been given annually since 1949, recognizes an individual for their outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region, professional accomplishments, and commitment to charity as well as to the community. O’Brien will be honored on Friday, April 24, 2020, from 6:30 – 11:00 pm during a gala hosted at The Bellevue Hotel.

Denis P. O’Brien served more than 30 years in the electric and natural gas utility industry. In 2007 he was appointed President and CEO of PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Under his leadership, the company’s reliability, operations, customer satisfaction, and financial performance increased and PECO’s employee safety, diversity and inclusion, economic development, and environmental initiatives were recognized. In 2012, O’Brien was appointed Senior Executive Vice President of Exelon Corporation and CEO of Exelon Utilities, which delivers electricity and natural gas to 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“Denis P. O’Brien has had a tremendous impact throughout the Greater Philadelphia region and the electric and natural gas industries,” said Rob Wonderling, President & CEO of the Chamber. “His leadership has played a significant role in shaping our region into a prosperous and forward-thinking business community.”

O’Brien served as the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Board from 2014 to 2016 and currently serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors, the CEO Council for Growth Board, and the Select Greater Philadelphia Advisory Board. He currently serves on the board of directors for Drexel University and Independence Health Group. He previously served as chairman of the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Pennsylvania Business Council. O’Brien served as vice chairman of the board of directors for Baltimore Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, PECO Energy, and PHI Holdings. He previously served on the board of directors for the American Gas Association (AGA), the Franklin Institute, YMCA of Greater Philadelphia, and WHYY, Inc.

“Denis P. O’Brien’s momentous leadership at Exelon and PECO, commitment to our civic community, and impact in our region are a few of the reasons why he is the 2019 William Penn Award honoree,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO of Independence Health Group and Chairman of the Board of the Chamber. “We thank Denis for his remarkable contributions to Greater Philadelphia, and I am honored to follow in his footsteps as chair of the Chamber board.”

O’Brien holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Rutgers University and earned a master’s degree in business from Drexel University.

“It’s a true honor to receive the William Penn Award on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia,” said O’Brien. “I have a deep connection to this region, and I’ve witnessed its evolution in becoming one of the premier cities in the country. Throughout my career, it’s been a priority for me to have a lasting impact on the people and organizations that make this region great, and I’m so humbled to be recognized with this award.”

Past William Penn Award recipients include:

    • Amy Gutmann, President, the University of Pennsylvania
    • Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO, Independence Health Group, parent of Independence Blue Cross
    • C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni, PE, Founder, and Chairman, Pennoni Associates Inc.
    • Judith M. von Seldeneck, Founder and Chairman, Diversified Search
    • William P. Hankowsky, Chairman, President, and CEO, Liberty Property Trust
    • Joseph Neubauer, former Chairman of the Board, ARAMARK
    • J. William Mills, III, former Regional President for Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, PNC Bank
    • David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation
    • Joseph A. Frick, former President and CEO, Independence Blue Cross
    • Charles Pizzi, former President and CEO, Tasty Baking Company
    • The late H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, cable TV pioneer and philanthropist
    • The late Constantine Papadakis, Ph.D., President, Drexel University
    • William R. Sasso, Esq., Chairman, Stradley Ronon LLP
    • Nick DeBenedictis, Chairman Emeritus, Aqua America Inc.
    • The late Ed Snider, Chairman, Comcast-Spectacor
    • Judith Rodin, former President, University of Pennsylvania
    • The late Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Comcast Corporation
    • The late G. Fred DiBona, Jr., President and CEO, Independence Blue Cross
    • Ronald Rubin, President, Pennsylvania Realty Investment Trust

The William Penn Gala

Join the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia in honoring Denis P. O’Brien, Senior Executive Vice President of Exelon Corporation, at the William Penn Gala on Friday, April 24, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM at The Bellevue Hotel.