American Electric Power has named Therace Risch to a new position as senior vice president and chief information & technology officer.

Risch will lead technology initiatives across AEP in Columbus, Ohio, including information technology, innovation, digital initiatives, and telecommunications. She will report directly to Nicholas K. Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer. AEP's Information Technology, Innovation & Technology, Telecommunications, and Charge (AEP's digital innovation hub) teams will report directly to Risch. AEP's Cybersecurity team will continue to report to AEP's Security organization but will work closely with Risch.

"Therace has extensive information and technology expertise in fast-moving, customer focused industries, including retail, insurance and financial services. As we focus on delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions for our customers and introducing new ways to work, her success in driving change and using technology to evolve legacy business models will be incredibly valuable," Akins said.

Risch was most recently executive vice president and chief information officer for J.C. Penney Co. where she was responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction, and tactical execution of all of the company's information technology systems and teams. She was a key leader in the company's stabilization and turn around by providing new solutions to help the company compete in the rapidly evolving online business environment.

Before joining JCPenney, Risch served as executive vice president and chief information officer at COUNTRY Financial, an insurance and investment services provider, where she led the strategy, planning, security and support of technology capabilities serving over one million households and businesses.

Risch also spent 10 years at Target Corp. in various technology roles of increasing responsibility, including her last position as vice president of technology delivery services, where she was responsible for the end-to-end execution of technology programs for stores, merchandising, supply chain, and other business functions.