PG&E CEO Bill Johnson will retire at the end of June, the company announced Wednesday morning.
The company said Johnson’s retirement will be effective June 30 and William “Bill” Smith, a longtime president of AT&T Technology Operations at AT&T Services Inc., has been named interim CEO.
“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,” Johnson said in a statement.
PG&E officials said Johnson’s retirement is expected to be after the company’s reorganization plan is approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He was named CEO in April 2019.
His tenure wasn’t without headaches.
Rolling blackouts during the fall of 2019 didn’t stop the Kincade Fire — the largest wildfire in the state last year — from roaring into Sonoma County, charring 77,758 acres and destroying 374 structures.
Numerous evacuations evoked memories of the 2017 wildfires that ravaged the Wine Country, and displeased numerous customers in areas where power was off but wildfires didn’t appear to be threats.
Johnson is credited by company officials with positioning it for a quick approval from federal officials and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, in addition to reaching a $25.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims.
“As we look to PG&E’s next chapter, this great company should be led by someone who has the time and career trajectory ahead of them to ensure that it fulfills its promise to reimagine itself as a new utility and deliver the safe and reliable service that its customers and communities expect and deserve,” Johnson said.
Smith joined the company’s board of directors in 2019.
“I have been deeply involved in the board’s work helping to prepare PG&E for its successful emergence from bankruptcy,” Smith said in a statement.