As announced a year ago and in anticipation of the current CEO's retirement next month, Sempra Energy's board of directors Wednesday officially elected Donald E. Felsinger, 58, as chairman and CEO of the San Diego-based utility holding company. The board also named two other top senior officers.
At Sempra, the board also elected current CFO Neal E. Schmale, 59, as president and COO, and Mark Snell, 49, as executive vice president and CFO. Felsinger is the current president and COO, named last year as the heir apparent to the top job when CEO Steve Baum announced his retirement for the end of January 2006. Felisinger's new position as CEO becomes effective Jan. 1, and his move to chairman and the other moves will be effective Feb. 1.
Felsinger, a University of Arizona-educated engineer and a graduate of the Stanford University executive MBA program, is a 33-year veteran with Sempra and San Diego Gas and Electric Co.'s predecessor companies. Schmale, a Colorado School of Mines petroleum engineering graduate who later earned a law degree from Loyola University, Los Angeles, during a career in the oil industry, joined Sempra when it was formed in 1998. Snell, a CPA and accounting graduate from San Diego State University, came to Sempra in 2001 after serving as CFO of Earth Tech, a Long Beach, CA-based consulting and engineering firm.
Outgoing CEO Baum praised the board for accelerating the transition of the company's leadership to Felsinger, his hand-picked replacement. He predicted the new management team would "continue to lead the successful execution of our growth strategy." Baum originally was scheduled to relinquish the CEO title the end of January, but will now do it a month sooner.
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