PG&E Appoints Information Technology Veteran Karen Austin as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Austin to Lead Technology Innovation for Systems Monitoring, Internal Records Keeping, Customer Programs and Products
Release Date: May 12, 2011
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced it has appointed Karen Austin as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Austin, who led successful efforts to restructure and modernize large-scale information technology (IT) systems for some of the nation's largest retailers, will be tapped to help the utility take full advantage of its IT capabilities to provide higher quality customer service. She will lead all of PG&E's IT systems and customer technology initiatives effective June 1.
"Karen's track record shows she has what it takes to be successful in a highly competitive industry where IT plays a central role in delivering the kind of service that wins customers," said C. Lee Cox, interim Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation. "She's bringing that know-how and that razor-sharp focus on customers to PG&E at a critical time. We're bringing in leaders who can make a real impact as we work to take the utility's service to the next level and overhaul its operations, and Karen is going to be an incredible asset to these efforts." Austin will oversee the IT systems that support all of PG&E's customer touch points.
She will also direct all cyber security initiatives to assure that protection of customer data is robust and effective. Additionally, she will be responsible for the company's technology strategy and business systems that power the Smart Grid. Austin will report directly to Pacific Gas and Electric Company President Christopher P. Johns.
"We believe there are tremendous opportunities for utilities to take better advantage of IT to provide a smoother, simpler, more responsive customer experience," said Johns. "Karen has the ideal mix of skills and experience to help us upgrade our systems and find smarter, more innovative ways to use information systems to achieve that goal. She's a great addition to our team."
For more than 27 years, Austin worked at Kmart Corp. and Sears Holdings. As Chief Information Officer for Sears Holdings, she oversaw an extensive data center consolidation, led enterprise-wide business intelligence initiatives, launched a new e-commerce multi-channel platform and merged the people, processes and technology for Kmart and Sears. Earlier, she led the restructuring of the technology systems while serving as Chief Information Officer of Kmart Corp. Most recently, she led Sears Holdings' Consumer Electronics business during its launch of several effective and innovative programs aimed at improving the customer experience.
Austin said, "I'm excited and proud to be part of the new team PG&E is building to turn the company around and help it regain its standing as a company known for taking excellent care of its customers and being an innovator. IT is going to be key to our success in this effort."
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.