Patti Poppe Courtesy Consumers Energy JACKSON, MI — Patti Poppe is ready for the challenge of taking on a company in crisis.
After four years as Consumers Energy president/CEO, Poppe announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, that she’s leaving the company and her Jackson hometown to lead San Francisco-based PG&E Corporation, a natural gas and electric service provider that’s California’s largest utility company.
This summer, PG&E made national headlines when it took responsibility for a fire that killed 84 people in Northern California. The company admitted it failed to maintain a transmission line that ultimately broke and started a wildfire, and has agreed to pay a $3.5-million fine as part of the criminal plea of involuntary manslaughter and illegally setting a fire.
“It is clear that the the PG&E team have faced real challenges,” Poppe said. "I was drawn by the opportunity to serve.”
Poppe, joined Consumers Energy 2011. In her new job, she said she will draw from her experience at Consumers Energy and CMS Energy, where she served as senior vice president of distribution operations, engineering and transmission before being named CEO in 2016 .
“We have a great playbook here at CMS energy,” Poppe said. “I know we have great people here at CMS and PG&E has great people too, who get up every day, ready to serve. I feel qualified and prepared to go and really help shape the future for California’s energy business.”
There was a “deep bench” of women on the Consumers team, Poppe said, when she replaced former CEO John Russell and became the first female president in Consumers Energy’s 130-plus year history. In the four years that have passed, Poppe said she’s pleased with the growing diversity within the company and counts it as one of its strengths.
“I just see a wide spectrum of talents capabilities races, genders backgrounds ethnicities; it’s really an awesome team,” she said. “I think what contributes to the success with CMS Energy is all of those diverse thoughts and capabilities coming together to really serve the people of Michigan so well.”
A leader with an inclusive lens was among the many high marks Poppe gives her successor Garrick Rochow, current executive vice president of operations.
Rochow has worked side-by-side with Poppe for 10 years, and she calls him “the perfect choice" for the job. Their aligned values on continuing the company’s “world class performance delivers hometown service” will make for a seamless transition, Poppe said.
“Our long […]