Ed Kelley’s final term on the CPS Energy board of trustees will end on Jan. 31, 2022.
Ed Kelley’s final term on the CPS Energy board of trustees will end on Jan. 31, 2022. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

More than two months after contract negotiations began with a single, unnamed candidate for CPS Energy’s next CEO, that candidate has withdrawn from consideration, CPS Energy board Chair Ed Kelley said Wednesday.

The board and the candidate came to a mutual decision, Kelley said. “The candidate decided to stay with the current position that they have.”

Former CEO Doyle Beneby left the public utility on October 31 to lead New Generation Power International (NGPI), a private, international renewable energy company based in Chicago. The CPS Energy board’s personnel committee and Korn Ferry, a Los Angeles-based recruitment consultant, has been searching for his replacement.

“It was not like the candidate had been presented a firm, signed, written proposal, studied it and turned it down,” Kelley said. “(After) laying out what we thought we could do and what the candidate wanted in terms of compensation and responsibility,” both sides decided it wasn’t a good fit.

“All of the candidates that we have met so far are in strong positions so we certainly don’t want to jeopardize that,” he said of the confidentiality agreements between the board and candidates.

The board narrowed the field down to one finalist from eight candidates in December 2015. It’s unlikely that those candidates will be revisited, Kelley said. “Other promising candidates have surfaced during the time we were in these discussions.”

Paula Gold-Williams, CPS Energy’s chief financial officer, took over as interim CEO on Nov. 1 after Beneby’s prolonged departure that included an 11th hour offer from the board to retain him.

“We’re fortunate in that we have an excellent management team,” Kelley said, citing Gold-Williams leadership. “We want to hire someone as soon as possible, but we don’t feel pressured to hire the first person that walks through the door.”

The utility has seen a smattering of leadership changes in the past few months. Group Executive Vice President and Chief Delivery Officer Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley is leaving her position at the end of February and board Chair Nora Chavez, who also represents the northeast service quadrant, stepped down in January as she moved out of the service area. Former Texas Secretary of State (2012-2014) John Steen now represents the northeast quadrant.

Former Vice Chair Kelley, a San Antonio native who retired as president and CEO of USAA Real Estate in 2005, took over as chair in January.


*Top image: CPS Energy Chair Ed Kelley listens in during a board meeting. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Commentary: Finding the Next Doyle Beneby

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. She was the San Antonio Report's...