PG&E CEO Bill Johnson leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about a year in the position
  • Accolades and praise for Johnson
  • Bill Smith taking over in the interim
  • Johnson said 119 words

(exechange) — San Francisco, California, April 22, 2020 — Bill Johnson, chief executive of PG&E, leaves. As announced by PG&E Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, William D. (Bill) Johnson, chief executive officer, leaves the power producer after about a year in the role, effective June 30, 2020.

Bill Johnson’s duties as CEO will be taken over in the interim by William (Bill) Smith, a former President of Technology Operations of AT&T Services, Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Smith is already a director of PG&E. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Smith understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of PG&E’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Goals will have been met”

PG&E did not give an explicit reason for Bill Johnson’s departure from the CEO post. Johnson said: “I joined PG&E to help get the company out of bankruptcy and stabilize operations. By the end of June, I expect that both of these goals will have been met.”

Precise information regarding Bill Johnson’s future plans was not immediately available.


PG&E said: “PG&E Corporation announced today that its chief executive officer and president, William D. “Bill” Johnson, has decided to retire from the company.  His retirement will become effective on June 30, 2020, which is expected to be after the company’s Plan of Reorganization is confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court.”

PG&E further said: “On April 21, 2020, the boards of directors of PG&E Corporation and its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (the “Utility”), approved the following management changes: effective June 30, 2020, William D. Johnson will step down from his position as Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation and resign from the boards of directors of PG&E Corporation and the Utility, and William L. Smith will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation and his service as a director on the Boards of Directors of PG&E Corporation and the Utility will continue.”

“Does not involve any disagreement”

“Mr. Johnson’s resignation from such boards does not involve any disagreement on any matter relating to PG&E Corporation’s or the Utility’s operations, policies or practices,” PG&E said.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in PG&E Corp.’s share price of 50% since May 2019.

Chaired by Nora Mead Brownell

PG&E Corp. is chaired by Nora Mead Brownell.

Brownell serves as independent non-executive Chair of the Board of PG&E Corporation since April 2019. Brownell is a former Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), a former member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and a former President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Bill Johnson became CEO of the Company in 2019.

Johnson brings decades of utility experience and leadership as a utility industry executive.

He concluded a more than six-year tenure as President and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 2012 to April 2019, leading the nation’s largest publicly owned utility in its mission of providing energy, environmental stewardship and economic development across a seven-state region.

Prior to his tenure at the TVA, Johnson was the Chairman, President and CEO of Progress Energy.

During Johnson’s tenure at TVA, the organization achieved the best safety records in its 85-year history and has been a perennial top-decile safety performer in the utility industry.

Johnson led the retirement of more than half of TVA’s coal generation, resulting in a reduction of TVA’s carbon emissions by about 50 percent over the last decade.

He also oversaw TVA’s expansion into utility scale solar in recent years, with the addition of approximately 1,000 megawatts (mWs), and pursued the modernization of its hydro assets to increase the overall amount of renewable resources.

Under his leadership, more than 50 percent of TVA’s energy came from non-greenhouse gas emitting sources.

Throughout his career in the energy industry, Johnson has collaborated closely with elected officials and other community leaders to deliver safe and reliable energy to millions of customers.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to PG&E and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 17.2020 ($).