PG&E Corp.

has promoted its acting chief financial officer to a permanent position as the utility struggled to stabilize its operations after its equipment caused a series of deadly fires that bankrupted it.

San Francisco-based PG&E announced Wednesday that Christopher Foster will retire on the 20th. He took over as CFO in March, having held the position of interim CFO since September. Foster, who joined the company in 2011, previously served as vice president of treasury and investor relations.

Mr. Foster has managed

Jason Wells,

who resigned to become CFO of CenterPoint Energy Inc, another utility company. In his new position, Foster is eligible for an annual base salary of $615,000, in addition to other benefits, PG&E said.

His promotion comes a few months after Patti Poppe became PG&E’s new executive director. Ms. Poppet succeeded her in January.

Bill Smith,

who had been acting as interim CEO since July.

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PG&E, which supplies gas and electricity to about 16 million people in California, faced billions of dollars in liability and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its facilities caused more than a dozen devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The company released a report on the 25th. February a profit of $200 million for the year ended 31. quarter ended December, compared with a loss of $3.62 billion a year earlier. At the time, PG&E said it expected a loss of 38 to 52 cents per share for fiscal 2021.

Christopher Foster, CFO of PG&E Corp.

Photo:

THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Foster said he would focus on tasks such as improving PG&E’s balance sheet so the company can fund significant investments in wildfire safety and risk reduction.

The new CFO is expected to raise capital for a broad investment program, primarily through the debt capital markets, said Travis Miller, equity strategist at the financial services firm.

Morningstar Inc.

Chris was in a difficult position, Miller said.

As part of that program, PG&E said in February that it plans to spend about $8 billion a year at least through 2025 to upgrade the electrical system to reduce risks.

The company sold bonds worth $2.4 billion earlier this month to pay off some of its loans, the European Commission said.

S&P Global Inc.

As of 31. Cash and cash equivalents were $261 million in December, down 76.7% from a year earlier.

Foster will also need to help improve the company’s reputation with investors, regulators and customers after the fires and bankruptcy, analysts said.

He can certainly play an important role with his vision for improving operational performance, said Jeffrey Cassella, head of lending at Moody’s Investors Service.

-Dave Sebastian contributed to this article.

Please email Mark Maurer at mark.maurer@wsj.com.

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