CPS Energy Vice Chair Ed Kelley shows off his holiday themed tie. Photo by Scott Ball.
CPS Energy Chair Ed Kelley shows off his holiday themed tie. Photo by Scott Ball.

The CPS Energy Board agreed Monday to initiate contract negotiations with a candidate who is interested in becoming the public utility’s new president and CEO.

After the first of two executive sessions during its meeting, the CPS Energy Board of Trustees announced that its selection committee’s process, which is aided by executive search firm Korn Ferry International, but trustees declined to comment further on the candidate’s identity or where they are from. Each applicant has signed a confidentiality agreement with CPS Energy, according to officials.

Eight candidates formally applied and were interviewed by outgoing board Chair Nora Chavez and Vice Chair Edward Kelley. There have been other informal “inquires” into the CEO position, Kelley said, outside of the formal process.

“We have the luxury of not having to do this in a ‘hurry-up fashion’ because we’ve got a very good interim CEO (Paula Gold-Williams) in place doing a great job,” Kelley said. “Really it gives us the flexibility to be very, very thorough in our process.”

Gold-Williams took over the position on Nov. 1 after former President and CEO Doyle Beneby’s prolonged departure to lead an international renewable energy company.

Kelley will take over as trustee chair, while Chavez will move outside of CPS Energy’s northeast service area. She will resign her seat as soon as a replacement is vetted and selected by the board. Applications are open to find a new Northeast service area representative, with the application deadline extended to Tuesday, Dec. 22, according to the CPS Energy website.

The replacement trustee must live in CPS Energy’s northeast service area and bring some kind of professional experience to the table, Kelley said. “We’re looking for that person that can add value to the board. … Hopefully they have some background experience with the utility industry or something similar to it, but we’re really looking for a well-rounded individual.”

Click here to learn more about the public utility’s search to find its new CEO.

*Top image: CPS Energy Chair Ed Kelley leans in to speak with fellow trustees. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org