San Diego-based Sempra Energy said Wednesday it will elevate its current CFO Mark Snell to president, effective Oct. 1, and consolidate its natural gas infrastructure businesses into U.S. and international units. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will no longer be a separate operating unit, a footnote to the fact that it is a waning part of the domestic gas marketplace.

Effective at the start of next year, Sempra Generation, Sempra Pipelines & Storage, and Sempra LNG will be consolidated into two new operating units reporting to Snell — Sempra International and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. All of Sempra’s now separate international and LNG operations will be part of the new international unit headed by George Liparidis, 52, current CEO at the pipeline/storage unit.

Aside from its two major California utilities — Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) — U.S. gas and electric generation operations will be part of the new domestic gas/power unit headed by Jeffrey Martin, 49, the current CEO at Sempra Generation.

Once the new international unit is operable Jan. 1 next year, current LNG CEO Darcel Hulse, 64, will report to Snell as a senior advisor until his retirement in May 2012.

Replacing Snell, 55, as executive vice president and CFO will be Joseph Householder, 56, the current treasurer/chief accounting officer. Snell and Householder will both report to newly named CEO Debra Reed, 55, who was elevated to the top spot in June (see Daily GPI, June 29). Former CEO Donald Felsinger, 64, continues as executive chairman until his planned retirement next year, and current President/COO Neal Schmale, 64, retires Nov. 1.

The two current CEOs of the California utilities, Michael Allman at SoCalGas and Jessie Knight at SDG&E, will each report to Reed after Schmale’s retirement.

Reed said the latest changes are part of an “orderly leadership succession process,” and they are part of Sempra’s effort to change its organizational structure “to better align with the strategic direction of the company.”

At the recent Barclays Capital CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York City, Snell told financial analysts that Sempra sees itself as a “growth-oriented utility” with strong emphasis on its two California utilities, which collectively represent the largest gas distributor in the nation (see Daily GPI, Sept. 9).

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