Richard H. Peterson, Retired PG&E Board Chairman, Dies
Release Date: April 24, 2009
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
Richard H. Peterson, chairman of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Board of Directors from 1976 until his retirement in 1979, died on April 19, 2009 in St. Helena, Calif. He was 94.
Mr. Peterson, the son of a PG&E engineer, joined PG&E in 1947, after periods in private law practice before and after his Navy service during World War II. He was elected general counsel in 1959, executive vice president in 1970, vice chairman of the board in 1972 and chairman in 1976. He also served as a board director from 1970 to 1986 and as director emeritus to 1987.
“Richard Peterson was a highly valued leader and executive who helped guide PG&E through a period of expansion and development of new gas and electric facilities to serve the growing population of northern and central California,” said Peter A. Darbee, Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation and President and CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric Company. “We extend our condolences to his family.”
Mr. Peterson took active roles in a wide range of civic, educational, legal, philanthropic and public utility organizations.
He was a past member of the board of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society, a past president and board member of the American Cancer Society's San Francisco Chapter, a former director of the San Francisco Planning and Renewal Association, a former trustee of the University of California, Berkeley, Foundation, a longtime trustee of the World Affairs Council and a former director of the San Francisco Museum Society. He served as a foundation trustee at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and also was active in the restored Legion of Honor, the new deYoung Museum and the reconstructed California Academy of Sciences.
Mr. Peterson served two terms on the Commonwealth Club of California Board of Governors and was a past director of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He also was a director and member of the executive committee of the American Gas Association and for three years chaired an Edison Electric Institute financial committee. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and the Pacific-Union Club.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving his law degree from Boalt Hall, he enlisted in the Navy, serving in World War II as an officer aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and later in the Navy's Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Peterson is survived by his wife, Marianne, three sons, nine grandchildren, his sister, Marion Avery, a niece and many nephews.