SAN ANTONIO – The CPS Energy Board of Trustees on Monday voted to appoint Rudy D. Garza as the utility’s interim president and CEO after Paula Gold-Williams announced her departure in October.
Garza has been with CPS Energy since 2012, most recently serving as the chief customer and stakeholder engagement officer. He will bring 25 years of experience in the electric and natural gas industry and be the first Hispanic to lead the utility, according to a news release from the board of trustees. The appointment will take effect on Nov. 8.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve this organization and our community. I want to thank the Board for entrusting me in this role and I want to thank Paula for her personal mentorship of me through my career here at CPS Energy,” Garza said. “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.”
Gold-Williams, who resigned after a string of controversies following the February winter storm, will serve CPS Energy as an advisor before her planned exit in January 2022.
“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 be tasked with leading the embattled utility, which has struggled in public opinion polls.
The KSAT 12 Defenders found that the utility has spent millions of dollars on outside legal fees fighting hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills for natural gas and power that it was forced to purchase during February’s winter blast. A few of those lawsuits have already been dropped by CPS Energy.
While Garza serves in the interim role, CPS Energy is conducting a national search to find a permanent president and CEO. The board of trustees will seek the services of an external recruitment firm, which has not yet been selected.