President, CEO of Sempra Energy to retire later this year

San Diego's Sempra Energy (SD Union Tribune)

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Days after wrapping up a massive $9.45 billion deal to acquire the largest utility in Texas, San Diego-based Sempra Energy announced Monday that Debra L. Reed will retire as president, CEO and chairwoman of the executive board later this year.

Reed, who last month hit 40 years with Sempra Energy companies, will step down as president and CEO on May 1, but she’ll continue as chairwoman of the executive board until Dec. 1. She’ll be replaced as CEO by Jeffrey W. Martin, who currently serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and as president by Joseph A. Householder, who is now the company’s corporate group president of infrastructure businesses.

“We have a talented and deep management team (and) Jeff Martin and Joe Householder are both tremendous leaders who will be excellent stewards of Sempra Energy’s continued growth and success in the future,” Reed said in a statement. “Over many years, our board of directors has led a robust leadership succession planning effort, and today’s announcement of new officer elections reflects the successful implementation of this planning.”

The retirement announcement comes just four days after regulators in Texas approved Sempra’s deal to buy Oncor, the largest utility in the Lone Star State, which serves about 3.5 million Texans. The Sempra-Oncor deal — in which Sempra agreed to several dozen conditions, including Oncor retaining an independent board, and rate savings initially going back to customers — succeeded where at least three others had failed, including a bid from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

“Y’all are done,” the Texas Public Utility Commission chairwoman said Thursday in giving the deal its final stamp of approval, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Reed, 61, has been Sempra Energy’s CEO since 2011 and assumed the top spot on the executive board in 2012. In announcing her pending retirement, she touted her recent accomplishments and the company’s positive outlook, including the acquisition late last week of Oncor, the largest utility in the Lone Star State, and the “anticipated launch of our liquefied natural gas export business in Louisiana next year.” She also mentioned growth of the company in Mexico, California and South America.

“In her seven years as CEO, Debbie Reed has sharpened Sempra Energy’s strategic focus and led the company to new heights,” said William C. Rusnack, Sempra Energy’s lead director. “Under her leadership, Sempra Energy’s market value has more than doubled to nearly $29 billion.”

Martin, 56, the future CEO, has served as Sempra Energy’s executive vice president and chief financial officer since January of last year. He’s been with Sempra for 13 years, including a period from 2014 to 2016 as CEO, president and chairman of San Diego Gas & Electric, one of the many utilities owned by Sempra. Martin has been with the company since 2004, when he started
in the mergers and acquisitions group.

Martin currently serves on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce, where he is a member of its executive committee, and the board of trustees of the University of San Diego, where he is a member of the executive committee and chairs the athletics committee.

Householder, 62, who will take over as company president, has been in his current position leading Sempra’s infrastructure businesses since January 2017. The position has him overseeing the company’s operations in midstream, liquefied natural gas, renewable energy and Mexico. Prior to taking on his current role, Householder was Sempra Energy’s executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2011 to 2016.

He serves on the board of Advanced Micro Devices and is a member of the Tax Executives Institute, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association.

With the Oncor deal done, Sempra Energy now employees roughly 20,000 people and serves 43 million customers worldwide.

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