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CPS Energy names interim CEO after Paula Gold-Williams resigns

CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams
Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams

Updated on Nov. 1, 2021

CPS Energy is naming an interim President and CEO following the resignation of current leader Paula Gold-Williams. Trustees for the city owned power utility selected one of its current high ranking staff members.

Rudy Garza, the utility’s current Chief Customer & Stakeholder Engagement Officer was named by the board Trustees to lead the organization effective next Monday. In October, current CEO Paula Gold Williams suddenly announced her resignation which would take effect next year. She is now staying on as an advisor to the company until January.

“Rudy Garza has the experience and ability needed to keep CPS Energy operating efficiently during the national search for a permanent CEO,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a news release. “This transition gives the organization the opportunity to prepare for coping with the evolving energy environment that it will face in the future.”

The leadership changes come after months of public scrutiny over the utility’s handling of the winter storm, the following legal fight over storm related costs, a proposed rate increase, and the resumption of disconnections during the pandemic.

“I know Rudy will lead CPS Energy’s dedicated team members successfully and I am committed to supporting him through my planned departure in early 2022. It has been my honor serving the citizens of San Antonio, the community from which I was born and raised,” Gold-Williams said.

Garza will serve as interim CEO while a national search is conducted for the full position. He’s been with CPS Energy for nearly a decade.

“My focus will be to ensure our employees and systems are prepared for the winter months and to rebuild the trust of our community. The CPS Energy team remains committed to working every day to provide our community with the service they expect,” Garza said.

Original story reported on Oct. 20, 2021

San Antonio's CPS Energy President and CEO, Paula Gold-Williams, has informed the Board of Trustees of her plans to leave the company in early 2022.

Gold-Williams will work cooperatively with the Board of Trustees through this transition.

She served at the helm of the city-owned utility during the winter blitz of February 2021 that knocked out power to much of the city for hours and in some cases days.

She received heavy criticism.

The San Antonio Express-News reported in 2020 she had a base salary of $486,000 but turned down a bonus that would have put her total compensation at more than $1 million.

The Board will form an executive search committee for a new President & CEO and will update the public once that information is finalized.

“The Board of Trustees thanks Ms. Gold-Williams for her dedicated tenure as President & CEO of CPS Energy,” said Board Chair Dr. Willis Mackey in a press release. “We are confident that Ms. Gold-Williams will continue to provide excellent guidance to her employees and the company as we go through this transition period. Board members are committed to a thorough search to fill this vital role. We expect to have additional information about next steps in the coming days.”

“I am thankful to CPS Energy’s 3,000 exceptional energy experts who have never wavered in serving our customers and our entire Greater San Antonio community,” Gold-Williams said in the press release.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules