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PG&E Makes Executive Changes: Darbee Board Chair, King Heads Utility

In a move that brings in four new executives from outside, PG&E Corp. Thursday announced changes at the top of both its utility holding company and its utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., adding board chairman to Peter Darbee's president/CEO responsibilities at the head of the parent company, and making Thomas King president/CEO of the utility. The changes are effective Jan. 1, 2006 with the retirement of board Chairman Robert Glynn, former CEO.

King, 43, the utility's current COO, will succeed Gordon R. Smith, 57, who is leaving the company at the end of this year. No further explanation was given for Smith's departure; he is a career PG&E employee with 35 years of service. Both King and Darbee came to PG&E from outside the utility industry in recent years.

Darbee, 52, became a senior vice president and CFO of the parent company in 1999 and worked closely with Glynn through the three-year Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the utility, 2001-2004. His prior experience involved senior executive positions, including president and CFO at the old Pacific Bell telecommunications company that has since merged into SBC and before that, he was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs where he dealt with both energy and telecommunications financings.

King previously held several senior executive roles with energy firms, such as Kinder Morgan Energy Partners among others. He joined PG&E with its now spun-off natural gas pipeline business, Pacific Gas Transmission Co., and was with the merchant energy unit that once operated as the National Energy Group.

In conjunction with the changes at the top, PG&E announced a reshuffling in seven other executive assignments:

CFO Christopher Johns takes on that and the Treasurer's role for both the parent company and the utility. Johns joined PG&E in 1996 and is a former partner at accounting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick LLP.

Kent Harvey, the current utility CFO, takes on the newly established position of senior vice president/chief risk officer.

G. Robert Power joins the company from PricewaterhouseCoopers where he was a partner, becoming the parent company's vice president/controller.

Ophelia Basgal, a nationally recognized expert in housing and community development who headed Alameda County, CA's Housing Authority for 27 years, becomes the newly established vice president, civic partnership and community initiatives, at the PG&E utility, effective immediately.

Deann Hapner, who most recently has headed up utility governmental affairs, becomes vice president for regulatory policy and rates at the utility.

Nancy McFadden joins the utility as vice president governmental relations, effective Monday, after serving as the state Senate-appointed head of the California Medical Assistance Commission. Previously she served as a senior advisor to former Gov. Gray Davis, and before that was general counsel to the U.S. Transportation Department (1996-2000) in the Clinton Administration.

Walter Rhodes, a former operations/procurement vice president with Entergy in New Orleans through last year, joins the utility as vice president, strategic sourcing and operations support, effective immediately.

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