Beleaguered PG&E names 1st company outsider as CEO

August 9, 2011 - 12:30 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. has named a Michigan energy executive as its new president and CEO, the first company outsider tapped to lead the California utility in its 106-year history.

PG&E board announced the appointment of Anthony Earley, the executive chairman of DTE Energy, late Monday.

Earley plans to take over on Sept. 13 from lead director Lee Cox, who has been serving as interim CEO since long-time leader, Peter Darbee, stepped down in April. With a $35 million retirement package.

Darbee's retirement came as PG&E was under intense regulatory pressure following a suburban San Francisco gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Federal and state authorities have criticized the company for inadequate record keeping and safety procedures.

In a statement, Cox called Earley "the person best qualified to help us win back public confidence."