Pacific Gas & Electric announced Sunday evening that CEO Geisha Williams will step down amid the fallout from a spate of deadly wildfires that may have brought the California utility to the brink of bankruptcy.

John Simon, PG&E's executive vice president and general counsel, will serve as interim CEO as the board searches for a new leader.

“While we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the Board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face,” said Board Chair Richard Kelly, in a statement.

Kelly said the board will look for a new CEO with extensive operational and safety expertise, and is committed to “further change at PG&E.”

Bloomberg reported Saturday that the utility, facing billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, could notify staff of a potential bankruptcy filing as soon as Monday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

California state law requires PG&E to notify employees 15 days before a change of control takes place at the company. A notice does not necessarily mean that PG&E is filing for Chapter 11 protection, but signals that the utility may be considering bankruptcy as a way of coping with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities for fires that took place in 2017 and 2018.

The utility declined GTM's request for comment on reports of an impending bankruptcy filing, stating in an e-mail that it does not comment on “market rumors and speculation.”

This is a developing story. 

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