Paula Gold-Williams is entering her second year as CEO of San Antonio’s city-owned utility company CPS Energy with a strong performance review, a raise and a $290,000 bonus.
During its Monday afternoon meeting, CPS Energy’s board of trustees returned from a two-hour executive session and voted unanimously to give Gold-Williams a $290,000 performance bonus and a raise, taking her base salary from $415,000 to $445,000 per year.
The meeting marked the one-year anniversary for Gold-Williams as CEO. Prior to being named to the post, she had served more than nine months as interim CEO and more than seven years as the municipally owned utility company’s chief financial officer.
In her performance review, CPS Energy Board Trustee Derrick Howard said Gold-Williams created a “people-first” environment at the utility company, particularly in the areas of customer relationships and experience.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of focus on challenges and solutions,” Howard said.
Board Chairman Ed Kelley told the Business Journal that CPS Energy has a top credit rating and provides 30 percent of the city’s annual budget. The board set several goals for Gold-Williams to meet involving the utility company’s financials, safety record, grid performance, customer service and community involvement, among other performance measures, which Kelley said she exceeded.
“She had to hit those metrics,” Kelley said. “There were no softballs.”
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who is a member of the board, said he first met Gold-Wiliams when she was working as CFO and watched as she turned around the organization’s customer service.
“We all look for an opportunity to champion someone who has risen through the ranks of an organization,” Nirenberg said. “It’s very rare to see it. But here we have Paula, who has worked at very levels of the organization, and is now leading it quite well.”
Gold-Williams declined to comment but thanked the board.
A Business Journal review of salaries for top executives at other public utility companies shows that Gold-Williams is in the middle of the road. She is making a higher base salary than Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sergeant but a lower one than El Paso Electric CEO Mary Kipp and Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative CEO Darren Schauer.
Under her contract, Gold-Williams can receive up to 75 percent of her salary as a performance bonus. Her predecessor Doyle Beneby received a base salary of $500,000 and was eligible for a performance bonus up to 100 percent of his salary.