William F. Hecht earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Lehigh University in 1964, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1970. He spent his entire career with PPL Corporation (formerly Pennsylvania Power & Light Co.), holding a number of management and executive positions before being named executive vice president-operations in 1990, when he was elected to the company's board of directors. He became president of the company in 1991 and assumed the additional role of chairman and chief executive officer in 1993. Between 1995 and 2006, under Hecht’s leadership, PPL provided a total return of 271 percent to its shareholders, nearly twice the return of the S&P Index. Hecht retired as chairman and C.E.O. in 2006.
Hecht is actively involved at Lehigh, serving in various capacities for the Alumni Association, Lehigh Fund, and reunion planning committees. He has served as vice chairman on the board of trustees and is now a trustee emeritus.
In addition to his Lehigh service, Hecht has served on numerous boards of local non-profit organizations, including the Allentown Symphony, Easter Seals Society, and Lehigh Valley United Way. He is currently serves as a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, DENTSPLY International, York, Pa., one of the world's leading manufacturers of dental products; RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd., a global provider of reinsurance and insurance; and Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network.
Hecht and his wife, Margaret, live in Allentown, Pa. They have two children.