Richard A. Clarke, Former PG&E Ceo And Environmental Leader, Dies At 72


(San Francisco, CA ) - Richard Alan Clarke, former Chairman and CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, died on Saturday, December 14, at age 72 from complications resulting from Lou Gehrig's disease. Clarke led the company from 1986 through 1995, and he continued to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for both Pacific Gas and Electric Company and PG&E Corporation until 2001. During his tenure as Chairman and CEO, Clarke established the utility as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the energy industry, especially in the areas of environmental stewardship and energy conservation.

At a time when few companies made environmental leadership a priority, Clarke embraced the challenge. He formalized the utility's "Commitment to Environmental Quality" and announced its intent to be a national leader in integrating environmental considerations into all aspects of its business decisions.

In 1990, Fortune magazine featured Clarke on its cover for his vision as an environmental leader and for his collaborative work with the environmental community. In 1991, President Bush presented Clarke with the Environment and Conservation Challenge Award and appointed him to the President's Council on Environmental Quality, where he served as chairman of the energy subcommittee. Two years later, he was appointed to the President's Council on Sustainable Development. Clarke continued to demonstrate his commitment to the environment following his retirement, staying closely involved with the Nature Conservancy of California.

Clarke's legacy is marked by the success of a number of ground-breaking environmental efforts that endure today and are recognized as being among the best in the nation, including programs in customer energy efficiency, clean-air transportation, and alternative energy sources. In 2002, the company established the Richard A. Clarke Environmental Leadership Award to honor Clarke's legacy and to recognize outstanding environmental contributions from Pacific Gas and Electric Company employees.

Clarke's leadership at Pacific Gas and Electric also included landmark operational accomplishments. He oversaw the completion, licensing and successful operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which remains one of the nation's best-run nuclear facilities, and the Helms Pumped Storage hydroelectric project. Clarke also led the company through the successful restoration of service following the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

During Clarke's tenure, Pacific Gas and Electric Company also expanded its commitment to providing equal employment opportunity, earning a number of awards in this area, especially for the advancement of women in the workplace. The utility became the first major company in San Francisco to establish its own Child Care Center.

"Dick Clarke distinguished himself as a business, environmental and community leader throughout his more than 40 years at Pacific Gas and Electric Company and PG&E Corporation," said Robert D. Glynn, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation. "He will be remembered for his vision and the strength of his convictions, and for the many contributions to the company and the community."

A native of San Francisco, Clarke was a graduate of Lowell High School. In 1952 he graduated cum laude in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, where he served as President of the Students' Association. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law in 1955 and joined Pacific Gas and Electric Company as an attorney. Clarke attained positions of increasing responsibility over his career, including Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman of the Board, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Utility Operations, and President of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, culminating in his election in 1986 as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.

Clarke's career also included service on the Boards of Directors of Potlatch Corporation, CNF Transportation Inc., BankAmerica Corporation, and The Nature Conservancy of California; the Advisory Board of the University of California Walter A. Haas School of Business; and the Board of Trustees of the Boalt Hall Trust of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He also has served numerous civic, business, industry, and community associations, including The Business Council, the Bay Area Economic Forum, and the California Business Roundtable, and the Boards of the Bay Area Council, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Edison Electric Institute, the San Francisco Committee on Jobs, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Clarke is survived by his wife of 47 years Mary Dell, brother-in-law Don Fisher, daughters Suzanne Clarke and Nancy Stephen, son-in-law Richard Stephen, son Douglas Clarke, daughter-in-law Dina Clarke, and grandchildren Caitlin, Patrick and Shelby Stephen and Nicole and Samantha Clarke. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, December 28, at 1:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 1510 Fifth Avenue (at "E") in San Rafael, California. A private interment will be held this week. Contributions may be made to:

  • The ALS Center at UCSF, 350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94117.
  • Boalt Hall School of Law, 303 Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7200.
  • First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, 1510 Fifth Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901.

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