Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) recently announced that Jim Lobdell, senior vice president of finance, CFO, and treasurer, plans to retire at year end. Jim Ajello, former executive vice president and CFO of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), has been appointed senior adviser, effective Nov. 30, and chief financial officer, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Brett Sims, senior director of strategy, commercial, and regulatory affairs, has been appointed vice president of strategy, regulation, and energy supply, effective Oct. 30.
"On behalf of the entire board and leadership team, I would like to thank Jim Lobdell for his dedication and many contributions to the PGE throughout his 36-year career," said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. "Jim has been instrumental in driving financial improvements and has helped ensure we're delivering safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to our customers through his leadership around the Boardman coal plant closure and in laying the foundation for a new generation. In particular, he helped secure more than 1000 MW in renewable energy. Jim's deep industry experience made him a valuable member of the team and we will miss his acumen for complexity and clarity of purpose. We appreciate Jim's commitment to ensuring a seamless transition and wish him well on his much-deserved retirement.
"It has been an honor to work with such a talented team and I'm immensely grateful for their support and camaraderie," said Lobdell. "I believe deeply in the future of the PGE and cannot wait to see all that this incredible team accomplishes — for customers, shareholders, and Oregonians alike — in the years to come."
"I am thrilled by this opportunity to join an outstanding team during such a pivotal time in the PGE's history," said Ajello. "I'm looking forward to working closely with the team to ensure we don't miss a beat in the PGE's efforts to reduce costs and realize operational efficiencies as we work toward delivering on a clean energy future."
"We are pleased to welcome Jim Ajello to the PGE team and look forward to benefitting from his broad-based background in energy, infrastructure, and financial services. I also want to congratulate Brett Sims, whose collaborative work with our stakeholders and deep technical and regulatory experience and business acumen has resulted in positive outcomes for customers. We're confident that both Jim and Brett will be excellent members of our executive team as we build upon our strong foundation and continue powering our communities we serve," Pope said.
James (Jim) Ajello served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the HEI from 2009 to 2017. In this role, he managed strategic planning, accounting, tax, investor relations, financial reporting, corporate finance, treasury and capital allocation, pension, corporate development, and enterprise risk management across the HEI companies of Hawaiian Electric Co. and American Savings Bank. Prior to joining the HEI, Ajello served as senior vice president, business development at Reliant Energy, Inc., now NRG, and spent approximately 15 years as managing director of the Energy and Natural Resources Group of UBS Warburg/UBS Securities LLC, focusing on M&A, corporate finance, capital markets, and infrastructure project financing.
Ajello currently serves as an independent board member of the HEI's Hawaiian Electric Co. and is a member of its Audit Committee. He is a former board member of the HEI's American Savings Bank and served on its Risk Committee, as well as Crius Energy Trust, where he served on the Nominating and Governance and Audit Committees. Ajello holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York and a master of public administration from Syracuse University. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau, France.
Brett Sims joined the PGE in 2001 and has held several leadership and strategic planning positions within the company over the last two decades. Most recently, Sims has served as senior director of strategy, commercial, and regulatory affairs at the PGE. In this role, he has guided the regulatory team and collaborated with the Oregon Public Utility Commission and stakeholders, and has overseen the company’s integrated resource planning process, RFPs, and commercial operations since 2005.
Prior to joining the PGE, Sims held a number of business development and management roles in the finance and banking sector. Sims holds a bachelor’s degree from Linfield College and a master of business administration from George Fox University.