CPS Energy Taps Korn Ferry To Find Its Next CEO

November 16, 2015 – CPS Energy has selected Korn Ferry to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. Current CEO Doyle Beneby is leaving the organization to join Chicago-based New Generation Power International. Paula Gold-Williams, currently its group EVP and chief financial officer, has assumed the interim CEO role as Korn Ferry conducts the search.

“We have made great progress, and we have a solid slate of candidates for review and we remain focused on identifying the ideal person who will lead CPS Energy in this exciting next chapter,” said Nora Chávez, board chair. “We don’t know how long this process (of hiring a CEO) is going to take.”

CPS Energy is the nation’s largest municipally owned natural gas and electric company, providing service to 741,000 electric and 331,000 natural gas customers in the Greater San Antonio area. The company offers the lowest rates among the top 10 largest U.S. cities, while ranking No. 1 in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned energy systems and No. 1  in Texas for solar generation.

Korn Ferry’s energy sector offers a range of talent solutions designed to fit the energy sector — from strategic search services, competency-based assessments, and interactive high-potential leadership development programs to one-on-one coaching, strategic talent design, and succession planning. Richard Preng serves as global sector leader for the practice. His expertise includes electric and gas utilities, upstream, midstream and downstream as well as the oilfield services sectors.

A report issued by ManpowerGroup, ‘Strategies to Fuel the Energy Workforce,’ found that 58 percent of energy executives said they struggle to find the talent they need and 74 percent believe the problem will worsen over the next five years. Job categories identified as being in greatest demand included field workers, skilled trades, and highly educated professionals.

The study also found that the talent shortage may already be slowing growth and expansion throughout the sector. By some estimates, there will be three million energy sector jobs by 2020. In the utilities subsector, where half of the workforce is already over the age of 40 — 100,000 net new jobs are projected. Many of the positions will require tech-savvy candidates to keep pace with future developments.

In response, a number of headhunting firms have been growing within the energy sector to fill critical roles for clients. Korn Ferry recently bulked up its staff in the sector, naming former Heidrick & Struggles recruiter Chad Hesters as managing director of the firm’s Houston office and a senior client partner in its energy search practice.

Heidrick & Struggles, in turn, strengthened its oil, gas and power expertise in the firm’s global industrial practice with the addition of David Pruner. He joins the firm from Wood Mackenzie, a global research and strategic advisory firm specializing in the energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, where he has been a senior vice president for the past 12 years.

Extract Talent opened its doors to serve clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups. The firm concentrates in the downstream sector of the oil, gas, chemicals, and catalysts industries.

In July, Diversified Search appointed Guy Sava as a managing partner and natural resources practice leader. Mr. Sava, who was with Heidrick & Struggles, has worked with global manufacturing, chemical, materials, energy and other industrial sector clients.

Jim Aslaksen recently joined ZRG Partners as managing director to further build out that firm’s global industrial practice. He has over 20 years of experience in leading assignments for CEOs, board directors and other senior level executives for global industrial organizations, frequently working within the chemical and process industries markets.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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