KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former executive at a Kentucky coal company has joined the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors after a presidential appointment.

Kenneth Allen, of White Plains, in western Kentucky, spent five decades in the coal industry, most recently as chief operating officer at Armstrong Coal Company.

Allen was confirmed to the nine-member board by the U.S. Senate in December. He says in a release from TVA that he spent his entire career in the coal industry, but he supports TVA's efforts to diversify its energy sources. About a quarter of TVA's electricity production comes from coal.

Allen was one of four newly confirmed appointees to the board of directors along with James "Skip" Thompson of Decatur, Ala.; Jeff W. Smith of Knoxville, Tenn., and A.D. Frazier of Mineral Bluff, Ga.