PG&E Corp. tapped William "Bill" Johnson, the outgoing head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, to become CEO and lead the California energy giant out of the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Mr. Johnson, 65, is joining the company after more than six years at the helm of TVA, the company said in a statement late Wednesday. PG&E also named 10 new directors to its board — including former energy executives, restructuring experts, a former federal energy regulator and at least four California residents — as part of a management shakeup it promised in January. Shares climbed 1.5% to $18.75 in after-hours trading.
As CEO, Mr. Johnson will be responsible for steering PG&E through what's expected to be a contentious bankruptcy as activist investors, creditors, wildfire victims and California officials wrestle over restructuring a utility serving 16 million people in one of the world's largest economies. He replaces Geisha Williams, who resigned in January before the company filed for bankruptcy facing $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires its equipment has been suspected of igniting.
"I am humbled to take on this new challenge and am dedicated to meeting the high expectations that our customers, regulators and legislators have for PG&E," Mr. Johnson said in the statement. "While the challenges facing PG&E and California are significant, by working together, we will overcome them to serve the best interests of our customers."
The appointments follow an intense, weekslong battle over the future management of PG&E. Even California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined the fight, urging the company to resist hedge fund picks and appoint directors who live in California.