Debra Reed Takes Over as Sempra Energy CEO

San Diego’s Sempra Energy has named Debra Reed as CEO of the global energy conglomerate, which operates two Southern California utilities and a separate holding company of diversified energy businesses focused on natural gas and power generation.

Reed, who also joined Sempra’s board, is the first woman appointed to head Sempra, which posted an annual profit of $739 million on revenue of $9 billion in 2010 and is listed at No. 274 on the 2011 Fortune 500 ranking of America’s biggest companies. Reed was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and has spent 33 years in the utility business. After joining Southern California Gas in 1978 as an energy systems engineer, she rose through the ranks to become the company’s first female executive officer in 1988.

The 55-year-old engineer was responsible for the operations of Sempra’s two regulated utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), as president and CEO from 2006 through April 2010, when she was named as Sempra’s executive vice president.

She succeeds Don Felsinger, who will continue as Sempra Energy’s executive chairman until his planned retirement at age 65 in late 2012. Neal Schmale, Sempra’s president and COO, plans to retire later this year.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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