PG&E Appoints Patricia 'Patti' Poppe as New CEO

PG&E names Patricia 'Patti' Poppe as its new CEO to succeed William Smith, who has served as interim CEO since William Johnson retired at the end of June.
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Embattled California utility PG&E  (PCG) - Get Report on Wednesday said it has named Patricia “Patti” Poppe as its new CEO.

Poppe, who will also join PG&E’s board of directors, will succeed William Smith, who has served as interim CEO since William Johnson retired as president and CEO of the utility company at the end of June.

Poppe, 52, has been president and CEO of Jackson, Mich., utility holding company CMS Energy  (CMS) - Get Report since July 2016.

The appointment marks a new chapter for PG&E, which earlier this year exited bankruptcy proceedings that saw it settle billions of dollars in claims from fatal wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

In May, the company said in a regulatory filing that it could face a loss of at least $600 million for the 2019 Kincade fire if it was found responsible.

State investigators found that the Kincade Fire “was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric.”  The fire began Oct. 23, 2019, near Geyserville, Calif., about 80 miles north of San Francisco.

At the time of the fire, PG&E was already in bankruptcy stemming from fatal fires in 2017 and 2018. The utility in June pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a 2018 fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, Calif.

Poppe, who has served as president and CEO of CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, will resign from her current post effective Dec. 1.

CMS said in a separate statement that Garrick Rochow, current executive vice president of operations, will succeed Poppe as CMS Energy and Consumers Energy president and CEO, and on CMS Energy’s board.

Shares of PG&E were up 4.78% at $12.27 in trading on Wednesday. Shares of CMS Energy ended the trading day Tuesday down 0.74% at $63.36.