System Ops: Geisha Williams to be the First Female CEO at PG&E

While we may have to wait a little longer for a Woman to be President of the United States. I can take heart in the fact that the company I work for made an unprecedented move on November 14th and named Geisha Williams, a 55-year-old Cuban immigrant, as the first female, Hispanic CEO of a company PG&E’s size (23,000 employees). Williams then told employees at the announcement her personal story of immigrating to the United States from Cuba when she was 5, speaking no English. Now she will become the first woman CEO of PG&E, one of less than two dozen female Fortune 500 CEOs and believed to be the country’s first-ever Latina CEO of a Fortune 200 company.

“I have to tell you I could never in a million years have imagined this,” she said. “Can you imagine my 5-year-old self, thinking that someday she could be a CEO? And not just any CEO but the CEO of this magnificent company — PG&E, oh my gosh — this amazingly, forward-thinking, progressive and influential company.”

She described herself as being “incredibly honored, incredibly moved” to become the new CEO.

Geisha then outlined her priorities during what she said will be some of the most exciting times in the energy industry’s history. She spoke of PG&E’s leadership on safety, reliability, affordability and clean energy.

Geisha spoke of continuing to improve safety and modernizing our energy infrastructure. She emphasized PG&E’s push toward continuous improvement, both in operations and in processes. And she added that PG&E must do what it takes to be competitive in a changing business landscape.

After remarks from company leaders, employees asked a number of questions. Among them was a question on the impact of the recent presidential election.

Said Geisha: “I think it just underscores the importance of California and the importance of the work we do here, particularly on our clean energy policies. … There’s no question that there’s going to be a lot of unanswered questions and some consternation. But here, in California, I think we continue. We continue to lead, we continue to do the work we know matters and we continue to provide a great service to our customers. And hopefully we continue to provide an example for the rest of the country.”

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