Last month, Hawaiian Electric Industries had to face the consequences of a historic wildfire that caused significant disruption to the company. As a result, the company has decided to restructure its leadership team.
Tayne Sekimura, who currently holds the positions of Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer at the subsidiary Hawaiian Electric, will be retiring on September 30. This retirement plan had been communicated internally at the beginning of the year.
To ensure a smooth transition and allow time for finding a suitable replacement for Sekimura, Paul Ito, the Executive Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer of Hawaiian Electric Industries, will step into the role of SVP, CFO, and Treasurer at the subsidiary until approximately December 31, 2024. Following this period, Ito will resume his original position at Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Furthermore, Scott DeGhetto will join Hawaiian Electric Industries as EVP, CFO, and Treasurer effective from October 1 until about December 31, 2024. DeGhetto comes from Moelis & Co., bringing valuable expertise to the company. Afterward, he will assume an advisory role at Hawaiian Electric Industries starting approximately from January 1, 2025 until April 1, 2025. This transitional period will facilitate Ito’s return to his previous responsibilities.
The subsidiary had been actively working on finding a successor for Sekimura, but due to the wildfire on Maui, their plans were disrupted. Nonetheless, progress is being made, and the company remains dedicated to filling this important position.
These changes in leadership aim to strengthen Hawaiian Electric Industries’ operations and mitigate the impact caused by recent challenges.
Leadership Changes at Hawaiian Electric
The leadership team at Hawaiian Electric is undergoing changes amidst a challenging period. The company has faced scrutiny in the aftermath of the deadliest wildfire in the history of the United States. Several lawsuits have been filed by the victims’ families and Maui County, alleging that the company’s equipment was responsible for igniting the blaze. As a result, a U.S. House committee has summoned top Hawaii energy officials, including the CEO of Hawaiian Electric, to testify at a hearing on the causes of the wildfire.
However, Hawaiian Electric vehemently denies any wrongdoing and refutes the claims that its power lines were responsible for the wildfire. The company has instead placed blame on Maui County firefighters for their alleged inadequate response. Nevertheless, Hawaiian Electric has expressed its commitment to thoroughly investigate whether its infrastructure had any role in the incident.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that Hawaiian Electric had knowledge of the increasing wildfire risk on Maui for several years. Despite this awareness, the company had made minimal progress in implementing fire prevention measures. Instead, their focus had been primarily on a statewide effort to transition to renewable energy sources.
The leadership changes at Hawaiian Electric come amidst great pressure on the company to address the concerns raised by the recent wildfire. It remains to be seen how these changes will shape the future trajectory of the company and its approach to both fire prevention and renewable energy initiatives.