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Interview with Pedro Pizarro, CEO of Edison International

Leadership Lyceum: A CEO's Virtual Mentor

Release Date: 03/13/2017

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“Perpetuating the California Dream: Progressive Policy Meets Progressive Leadership”

Interview with Pedro Pizarro, CEO of Edison International in Los Angeles, California

Welcome to Episode 9 of the Leadership Lyceum: A CEO’s Virtual Mentor

I had the pleasure of visiting Pedro Pizarro, CEO of Edison International in his Los Angeles office for this conversation as part of what will be a bit of a sub-series introducing some of the recently appointed CEO's in the utility industry.

Edison International (Ticker: EIX) is the publicly-traded holding company for regulated utility Southern California Edison and a small array of non-regulated investments plus Edison Energy. At $11.5 billion in annual revenue, and serving 15 million customers, the company is one of the largest utilities in the country.

Our interview will delve deeply into one of Pedro’s priorities for positioning their utility, Southern California Edison (SCE) to help the state of California achieve its very ambitious, legislatively-mandated targets for reducing greenhouse gases by 2030.

The path ahead for Pedro and Edison with respect to his plan to: “help catalyze all the efforts to support reducing greenhouse gases” is uncharted and unprecedented.  To achieve the targets, it is not enough for California to decarbonize the electric power sector – they need cooperation and electrification from other sectors.   

As fitting context for this interview, in our last podcast episode, Episode 8, we illustrated through our interview with Susan Story, CEO of American Water, how success in the public utilities industry requires industry leaders to lead “beyond their authority” – that is, leading beyond the boundaries of their corporations.  We discussed that continuously achieving safe, clean, reliable, affordable service is dependent upon public policy, legislation, and regulatory relationships which in turn require leaders to lead and influence beyond the boundaries of their corporations. 

California legislation presents a stage set for leadership of this nature. This includes a plot thickened by the stark disparity between California and Federal, climate and renewable energy policy. But there are no scripts for this story.  The action will be carried out by a talented troop of improvisational actors. 

 

Informative and Helpful Links

A helpful summary of California Climate legislation called SB 32 which was promulgated on September 8, 2016.  We discussed this in detail in the interview. http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article100734142.html

A helpful summary of California Climate legislation called SB 350 which was promulgated on October 7, 2015.  We discussed this in depth in the interview.  http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-jerry-brown-climate-change-renewable-energy-20151007-story.html

LA 2024 – Los Angeles’s Bid for the Olympics.  LA is one of two candidate cities along with Paris. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_bid_for_the_2024_Summer_Olympics

My LA Times source on legendary historian Kevin Starr from an obituary the day before my interview with Pedro. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-kevin-starr-obit-20170115-story.html

Edison International Website: https://www.edison.com

California is using more renewables and less natural gas in its summer electricity mix https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=27812

California has nearly half of the nation’s solar electricity generating capacity https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=24852#

 

Program Guide Episode 9

Pedro Pizarro Interview – “Perpetuating the California Dream: Progressive Policy Meets Progressive Leadership” 

0:30     Introduction to Pedro Pizarro CEO of Edison International

1:19     Policy/legislative context for the interview

2:52     Start of interview – key areas of focus on Pedro’s leadership agenda

5:25     Break 1

5:46     Non-regulated Edison Energy focus on the Commercial & Industrial (C&I) market

8:20     Benefits of a dual platform: regulated and competitive businesses and two views

9:30     Use of electric storage/batteries (front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter-applications)

13:00   Other state’s activity vs California: Community Solar in Minnesota

13:50   Pedro’s leadership as a relatively new CEO of an iconic California company

16:35   California’s unique position – the imaginative and the factual; the influence on the nation

19:30   Break 2

19:51   Leadership outside the walls of the company and LA 2024, LA’s bid for the Olympics

22:20   LA 2024 and strength of conviction and strength of the bid

23:48   Policy and Legislation: SB 350 (state renewable portfolio standard increase) and SB 32 (greenhouse gas emission reductions)

28:01   Striking balances on policy and legislation – Example: Net Energy Metering revisit in state in 2019

30:12   Break 3

30:34   SB 32 greenhouse gas emission reductions discussion and the task ahead in context

32:00   Accounting for greenhouse gas emissions by sector. Needs from sectors beyond the electric utility sector

33:46   Edison’s task in the future regarding SB 32 and implications on Edison’s grid

34:55   Break 4

35:07   Cross-economy/cross-government collaboration for SB 32 progress.  Example - ports and port transportation networks

38:21   Pedro Pizarro’s vision and approach for Edison International in cross-industry collaboration

40:26   Break 5 (Final Break)

40:44   Conclusion - LA 2024 “the first energy positive solar powered games” in history. Tying it all together.

44:01   Recap and end of Episode 9

 

Biography on Pedro Pizarro

Mr. Pizarro has been the President and CEO of EIX since October 2016. Prior to that, he served as President of EIX from June 2016 to September 2016 and President of SCE from October 2014 to May 2016.

Mr. Pizarro has held a wide range of executive positions at the EIX companies since joining EIX in 1999. From 2011 through March 2014, he served as President of EME, an indirect subsidiary of EIX that filed for bankruptcy in 2012.  Prior to that, Mr. Pizarro served as Executive Vice President of SCE from 2008 to 2011, responsible for SCE’s transmission and distribution system, procurement of conventional and renewable power, and gas-fired and hydroelectric power production facilities. He also previously served as Vice President and Senior Vice President of Power Procurement, and Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, among other executive roles.

Prior to his work at the EIX companies, Mr. Pizarro was a senior engagement manager with McKinsey & Company, providing management consulting services to energy, technology, engineering services, and banking clients.

He is a director of the Edison Electric Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute, and is a member of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory. Mr. Pizarro is a graduate of Harvard University and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

 

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Your host Thomas B. Linquist is a Partner at a leading global executive search firm. Over his 15 years in management and leadership consulting he has served a wide array of industrial clients.  This includes leadership assessment and search for chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and boards of directors.  He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and over his 25-year career has served in a variety of roles: as an engineer with Shell Oil Company, a banker with ABN AMRO Bank, and as treasurer was the youngest corporate officer in the 150+ year history at Peoples Energy Company in Chicago.  He is an expert on hiring and promotion decisions and leadership development.  Over the course of his search career, he has interviewed thousands of leaders. 

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