SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) today announced that CEO Debra L. Reed has been elected chairman of the company. Effective Dec. 1, Reed will succeed Donald E. Felsinger, 65, who is retiring at the end of this month after a 40-year career with the company. Reed was named Sempra Energy's CEO in June of last year. "In her year-and-a-half as CEO, Debbie Reed has helped Sempra Energy become a top performer in our industry," Felsinger said. "She has sharpened our strategic focus and continued to build value for our shareholders. Our board and I believe that Debbie will be most effective in serving our shareholders and customers in the dual role of chairman and CEO." Reed, 56, has worked for the Sempra Energy companies for 34 years. Prior to her appointment as CEO last year, she was executive vice president of Sempra Energy. Previously, from 2006 to 2010, she served as president and CEO of Sempra Energy's two largest subsidiaries, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas). She also was chief operating officer of the two utilities, after initially being appointed president of SDG&E in 2000. Reed first joined the company in 1978 as an energy systems engineer at SoCalGas. In 1988, she became the first female officer appointed at SoCalGas. In 2011 and 2012, Reed was recognized as one of Fortune magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business." She also was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the nation's most influential female CEOs. Reed serves on the board and is the immediate past chair of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. She also is on the board of directors of Halliburton Co. and the board of councilors of the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. Reed is a member of The Trusteeship, an affiliate of the International Women's Forum. Previously, she served on the boards of directors of Genentech, Dominguez Services Corp. and Avery Dennison Corp. Reed graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Felsinger has been Sempra Energy's executive chairman since June of last year. Previously, from 2006 to 2012, he served as chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy and, prior to that, as the company's president and chief operating officer.