MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — A utility executive with experience overseeing Midwestern gas and electric operations will serve as the next head of South Carolina’s state-owned utility.

The board of Santee Cooper approved Thursday the hiring of Jimmy Staton as the utility’s next president and CEO. The board screened 27 candidates before selecting Staton, who is replacing retiring head Mark Bonsall.

Staton currently leads the Kentucky-based gas company Southern Star Corp. and has more than three decades of experience working in the energy industry.

The board says he will receive an annual base salary of $1.4 million subject to state approval. He will start the new job on March 1.