CEO and General Manager search

SMUD has engaged with an outside organization, Korn Ferry, to manage the recruitment for our next CEO and General Manager. Additional information about the position is below.

If you have questions, or would like to apply, please reach out directly to Korn Ferry at

Company background/culture

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is a recognized industry leader with a reputation for being a progressive, forward-thinking utility. SMUD’s Purpose is to enhance the quality of life for its customers and community through creative energy solutions. For more than 70 years, SMUD has delivered on a fundamental promise: to provide safe, reliable electricity at affordable rates while maintaining a leadership position for environmental stewardship.

SMUD is the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider and serves Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a vertically integrated utility that  generates, transmits distributes and sells power directly to its customers.

In 2019, SMUD was recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best mid-size employers, the only utility to make the list. SMUD’s commitment to safety, diversity, employee development, innovation and its customers contribute to consistently best-in-class employee engagement across its 2,200+ strong workforce. SMUD also takes great pride in delivering outstanding customer service and community value and is consistently ranked by its customers in J.D. Power surveys as a top-five utility nationally for customer satisfaction.

SMUD’s Vision is to be the trusted partner with its customers and community, providing innovative solutions to ensure energy affordability and reliability, improve the environment, reduce its carbon footprint, and enhance the vitality of the community it serves.  SMUD has one of the most, aggressive carbon reduction goals of any California utility as outlined in its  Integrated Resource Plan that sets a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040. SMUD has been recognized nationally and internationally through awards for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, e-mobility programs and sustainable solutions for inclusive environmental sustainability. With eyes on the future, SMUD is committed to dramatically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to focus on building customer loyalty and operational excellence.

Through innovative programs such as SmartSacramento®, SMUD’s $360 million smart grid initiative, the utility has partnered with some of the region’s largest organizations to modernize the electric grid, improve reliability, increase efficiency, and help customers make use of new technology to better manage their energy use. This grid modernization initiative paved the way in 2019, for the successful transition to time-of-day pricing for all SMUD customers, the first utility in California to do so.

SMUD’s current CEO has announced that he will retire at  the end of August 2020 after a very successful tenure at SMUD. The utility is well managed, financially strong and has a solid reputation for innovation, quality and cost-effective service across its industry segment. The Board is seeking a new leader who will build upon the company’s many strengths and achievements and position the company for a strong and sustainable future.

It’s an optimal time to join SMUD and make a dramatic impact on the company, its customers and community, and achievement of its ambitious goals.

SMUD at a glance:

  • Population in our service area: 1.5 million
  • Size of our service area: 900 square miles
  • Total accounts served (residential + business): approximately 640,000
  • Number of SMUD employees: 2,278
  • Miles of power lines we own: 10,473
  • Power from non-carbon-emitting resources: 50%, on average

Board governance

As an independent municipal utility, SMUD is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors elected by the voters of Sacramento County to staggered four-year terms. SMUD’s Board of Directors operates under a policy governance approach. The Board appoints the CEO & GM, who is responsible for SMUD’s day-to-day activities.

As outlined in the SMUD Board Policy, the Board of Directors, elected individually by the citizens of Sacramento County, is SMUD’s governing body. The Board operates under the provisions of the Municipal Utility District Act of the State of California (the MUD Act) and all other applicable statutes and laws.

Key responsibilities 

Through its strategic direction policies, SMUD’s Board of Directors establishes the purpose, values and vision of SMUD, along with the results that it wants SMUD to achieve. The CEO works closely and collaboratively with the Board and is responsible for carrying out the strategic direction policies.  The CEO establishes SMUD’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, which provides operational direction for staff to achieve the Board’s policies. Through a regular monitoring process, the Board of Directors evaluates whether SMUD is achieving the goals set out in the strategic direction policies.Pursuant to Board Policy for Board/Staff Linkage, and specifically for the Board-Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Relationship, the CEO is responsible for the following:

  1. Manage all operations and business affairs of SMUD.
  2. Achieve the results established by the Board within the appropriate and ethical standards of business conduct set by the Board.
  3. Prepare and submit to the Board for approval each year a budget to achieve the Board’s strategic directives.
  4. Enforce SMUD ordinances, administer the civil service system (including hiring and terminating of all officers and employees except the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel and the Board Special Assistant), attend meetings of the Board and report on the general affairs of SMUD, and keep the Board advised as to the needs of SMUD.
  5. Establish and enforce a code of ethics applicable to all employees, which provides clear guidelines for ethical standards and conduct.
  6. Implement and maintain an integrated enterprise risk management process that identifies, assesses, prudently manages and mitigates a variety of risks facing SMUD.
  7. Ensure the smooth continuous operation of SMUD in the event of the planned or unplanned absence of the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager.
  8. Interact with the public and other utilities and government agencies, pursuant to policies adopted by the Board.The Chief Executive Officer and General Manager shall assure, in cooperation and consultation with the Board, that SMUD is appropriately represented in the community it serves.
  9. Perform other responsibilities as may be delegated by the Board either by resolution or through the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager’s contract of employment.

Additional CEO responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Work as a collaborative partner with the Board of Directors to quickly grasp the dynamics of operating this organization to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  • Ensure strong focus and commitment to environmental and social governance (ESG) and technology innovation in order to achieve aggressive GHG goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 as outlined in the IRP.
  • Continue to drive positive culture improvements and develop and maintain mutually-beneficial and constructive relationships with the Utility District’s various stakeholders.
  • Obtain the Board’s counsel and input regarding critical fiscal and operational issues and then utilize decisive leadership to take appropriate action.
  • Continue to drive performance that will sustain SMUD’s robust reputation as one of the best run utilities in the United States.Develop plans and policy positions based on legislation, regulations and other governmental and public policy activities that drive environmentally progressive market-based industry policy for relevant aspects of the electric power industry.
  • Increase the utilization of renewable energy by improving generation fleet availability and performance. Develop further renewable energy capacity, including identifying joint venture opportunities, where appropriate. Ensure that cyber and physical security remains a top priority and that programs are in place to protect the integrity of SMUD’s IT Systems and critical infrastructure across its systems.
  • Address business challenges including implementing and financing capital projects, especially those targeted on system-wide reliability and resiliency, achieving O&M efficiencies, managing rate cap pressures, etc.
  • Continue and build upon SMUD’s high levels of customer service and satisfaction; prudently expand and improve customer service delivery capability.
  • Ensure that the financial integrity of SMUD is maintained, including the areas of debt management, bond rating and rates.
  • Continue oversight and leadership in implementing the company’s ongoing grid modernization initiatives.
  • Assess and develop future leadership potential throughout the organization.With a focus on increasing Diversity and Inclusion goals across the organization, provide visionary and hands-on leadership and mentoring to staff throughout the organization.

The board strategic directions set specific metrics in which the CEO & GM will be evaluated. Critical areas in year one include:

  • Continue to improve SMUD’s safety performance as the organization pursues zero incidents and injuries and safety for life culture.
  • Seamless leadership transition to ensure continued service to customers, successful execution of all activities and key events, and sound fiscal management.
  • Effective representation of SMUD before all key government bodies, NGOs, the media, and the public on priority issues.
  • Build confidence with the Board and staff; continue to focus on evolving strategic planning processes for the future.
  • Build on the quality-focused tradition in customer services and innovation.
  • Successfully complete next rate process.
  • Continue high reliability of electric service.
  • Progress in the implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
  • Maintain employee engagement in the top quartile.

Professional experience/qualifications

  • At least 15 years of demonstrated business success and track record of increasing accomplishments in the Utility or other directly-relevant sector.
  • At least 10 years of experience at the executive level in general management, line or staff functions with demonstrated bottom line and customer impact along with leading change.
  • Broad exposure to Generation, Transmission and Delivery planning and, ideally, strong experience in areas of grid modernization/resiliency, distributed generation technologies and grid integration, renewable energy and e-mobility strategies, business case ROI, and related technology implementation.
  • At least five years of experience with a demonstrated track record of accomplishment with larger capital investment project oversight.
  • Track record with organizations known for the delivery of top-quartile customer service.
  • Proven ability to create and articulate a vision for the future for SMUD that continues in the path of innovation, efficiency, sustainability and environmental stewardship, which takes into account a multitude of uncertain economic and political factors.
  • Demonstrated thought leadership; able to shape/influence policy and legislation and then create and articulate strategies in response that enhance benefits to SMUD’s stakeholders.
  • Able to also deliver on long-term strategies with comprehensive solutions that ensure success by increasing renewable power generation and storage, continuing the integration and evolution of grid modernization solutions and ensuring continued industry leadership in areas of safety, energy efficiency, grid resiliency and sustainability.
  • Politically adept; able to interact effectively at Board level, as well as the highest reaches of relevant state, national and international government & regulatory bodies.
  • Effective team builder and mentor who actively seeks and encourages alternative perspectives, diversity & inclusiveness.
  • Knowledgeable of relevant government and regulatory requirements; key relationships with other municipal and investor-owned energy utilities in complex and dynamic market regions. Specific experience in California will be considered a plus.
  • Ability to work with a structured governance model in which the board sets policy with desired outcomes and measures success, while clearly delegating the "how" to the CEO/General Manager.
  • Collaborative leadership style: ability to harness the strengths, insights and capabilities of the organization, the Board, and the broader stakeholder community.


An undergraduate degree is required, and an advanced degree is desired.


The successful candidate will have a salary commensurate with a senior executive at this public organization.

Our commitment to diversity & inclusion

SMUD respects, values and celebrates the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. Diversity and inclusion are guiding principles to deliver a culture that reflects the broader values of the community and our customers. Our Board’s policy for Employee Relation sets our commitment to developing and maintaining a high quality, inclusive workplace that engages and inspires employees to commit to SMUD’s purpose, vision and values.

SMUD provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. SMUD complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

SMUD expressly prohibits any form of unlawful employee harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of SMUD employees to perform their expected job duties is absolutely not tolerated.