PG&E close to reshaping leadership with investor backing: WSJ

PG&E close to reshaping leadership with investor backing: WSJ

(Reuters) – PG&E Corp is close to naming a new chief executive officer and revamping its board backed by some of its largest investors, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday, as the power utility restructures after filing for bankruptcy because of potential liabilities from California wildfires.

A PG&E truck carrying an American Flag drives past PG&E repair trucks in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Bill Johnson, who is set to retire as head of the Tennessee Valley Authority in April, is the front-runner to get the job of PG&E’s new CEO, the Journal reported.

PG&E has also made offers to 10 new independent board candidates and is expected to unveil the slate as soon as next week, saying it has significant shareholder support, according to the report.

Johnson’s new role, which could also be announced next week, has not yet been finalized and other candidates were still being interviewed, the newspaper added.

The utility filed for bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of liabilities from the wildfires, including the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

TVA did not have an immediate comment, while PG&E did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

A trio of activist investors, that together own nearly 10 percent of PG&E stock, has been working with the company to change its management, the Journal reported.

The three hedge funds, Abrams Capital Management LP, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Redwood Capital Management LLC, said in a filing on Friday they had agreed with PG&E to work together to appoint a new CEO and refresh its board. bit.ly/2HqIxyM

The board slate they have helped PG&E assemble is expected to include experts on cyber security, nuclear security and restructurings, the Journal said.

PG&E’s previous CEO, Geisha Williams, stepped down in January after less than two years on the job.

Last month, the company said it expected only five of its current 10-strong board to stand for reelection at an annual shareholder meeting in May. It also said it expected the board to include 11 independent directors by the time of the meeting, without specifying how big the board would finally be.

The Journal said the efforts of the three investors are separate from those of another PG&E investor, BlueMountain Capital Management, which earlier in March named its own slate of 13 people it hopes to install as directors at the embattled power utility.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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