Geisha Williams

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Geisha Williams
Born
Geisha J. Jimenez

1961/1962 (age 58–59)[1]
Cuba
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Miami
Nova Southeastern University
OccupationBusinesswoman
TitleFormer CEO, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
TermMarch 2017 - January 2019
Spouse(s)Jay Williams
Children2 daughters

Geisha J. Williams (born Jimenez, c. 1961/1962) is a Cuban American businesswoman. She was the president and CEO of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) from March 2017 to January 13, 2019.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Williams was born Geisha J. Jimenez in Cuba.[3][4] At the age of five, Geisha migrated to the US with her parents, after her father, a political prisoner, was released from prison.[4] Her father worked various jobs to provide for his family and went on to own their own grocery store.[4]

She has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Miami and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.[1]

Career[edit]

After university, Williams worked for Florida Power & Light (FPL), starting as a residential energy auditor.[5][3] Williams joined PG&E in 2007.[1] In March 2017, she became the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company.[6]

She is a director at the Edison Electric Institute the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, and is the board chair for the Center for Energy Workforce Development.[5]

Compensation criticism[edit]

In January 2019 Williams left PG&E as the company struggled to deal with legal and financial repercussions associated with a series of devastating California wildfires, which occurred in 2017 and 2018.[7] Despite losing more than $6 billion, Williams received a pay raise of 8.12% in 2018. PG&E filed for bankruptcy immediately after Williams' departure.[citation needed]

Williams is criticized for a $10mm+ pay packaging including $2.6mm in severance pay when she left PG&E as the company prepared to enter bankruptcy.[7] The Los Angeles Times reported that, "Williams’ compensation encompassed numerous perks, including a car and driver, a $51,000 security system for her home, health club and “executive health” services worth $5,453 and financial services subsidized to the tune of $7,980."[8]

In April 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed concern that new PG&E board members would have little knowledge of California, and may lack the expertise to safely run a utility.[9]

Williams was succeeded by John Simon as interim CEO, then, in May 2019, Bill Johnson became CEO, garnering "more than twice the base salary" of Williams.[10]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Jay Williams, and they have two daughters.[3][4]

She sits on the Board of Directors of the Bipartisan Policy Center[11] and the Board of Trustees of the California Academy of Sciences.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Geisha J. Williams: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  2. ^ Morris, J.D. (January 14, 2019). "PG&E CEO Geisha Williams out amid utility's widening financial crisis - SFChronicle.com". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Markelz, Michelle (June 16, 2013). "Geisha Williams: Providing Power to the People – Hispanic Executive". Hispanicexecutive.com. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "PG&E's Bolt of Energy". fortune.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "PG&E Company - Geisha J. Williams". Pgecorp.com. November 29, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Draznin, Haley. "A former refugee, she's now the first Latina CEO of a major US company". CNNMoney. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "PG&E Chief Executive Geisha Williams leaves as utility readies for possible bankruptcy". LATimes. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  8. ^ https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-pge-ceo-raise-20190429-story.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Brekke, Dan (March 28, 2019). "Governor Blasts PG&E, Says Utility Is Focused on 'Quick Profits' Over Safety". KQED. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "New PG&E CEO to rake in a salary more than double that of Geisha Williams, his predecessor"; Hannah Norman; San Francisco Business Times; Apr. 16, 2019.
  11. ^ https://bipartisanpolicy.org/person/geisha-williams/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ https://www.calacademy.org/leadership. Missing or empty |title= (help)