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Staring at bankruptcy, Reeling PG&E loses CEO

Geisha Williams, the chief executive officer of PG&E since March 2017, has resigned, the utility announced Sunday, and corporation Executive Vice President and General Counsel John Simon has been named as her interim replacement.
Williams’ departure comes as PG&E is facing a financial crisis. Its market value has plunged since November’s Camp Fire, which devastated the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. Damage from that blaze, the state’s deadliest ever, and from 2017’s Tubbs fire that caused major damages in Santa Rosa and other parts of Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties. The San Francisco-based PG&E is considering filing for bankruptcy in the face of potential liability for those fires, which could be as much as $30 billion. State regulators have called for management changes within PG&E, and the utility may end up getting a bailout package of some kind. PG&E has started the search for a permanent CEO, but Richard C. Kelly, board chairman of PG&E, on Sunday said Simon is the man for the moment.

Kelly said in a statement:
“We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO. … Our search is focused on extensive operational and safety expertise, and the Board is committed to further change at PG&E.”

Simon has served as PG&E’s executive vice president and general counsel since 2017, and has been with the company since 2007, serving in several management roles.
Williams had also been with PG&E since 2007, and in March 2017 became the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In 2017, she made $991,667 in base pay and $7,600,410 in total compensation.
She has resigned from the boards of both PG&E and its holding company.

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