Earley will make about $2.8 million between September and December of 2011, in a combination of salary, equity and cash incentives, according to the filing. But a one-time employment bonus, as well as "inducement equity awards," could bring that total closer to ten million. His base annual salary will be $1.25 million.
Former PG&E CEO Peter Darbee earned $7.34 million in 2010, according to Forbes. Darbee resigned from his position in April, following a series of disasters at the company, including the September 2010 explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed sloppy record keeping and patchy inspection practices.
Earley has a reputation as a nuts and bolts energy insider, says analyst Philip Smyth for Fitch, Inc. which recently downgraded PG&E's credit rating.
"He has the appropriate background I think to lead the company through this challenging time," Smyth said.
DTE was fined a little more than $1.3 million for a variety of infractions, including gas safety violations, overcharging customers and "anti-competitive behavior" for delaying or denying its customers ability to switch to another electricity supplier, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That's much less though than the $6.5 million in fines PG&E saw during the same time period.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Earley noted PG&E's San Bruno woes.
"They’ve struggled to recover from the tragic explosion,” Earley said, “and I guess the board felt that they needed a set of fresh eyes.” He called PG&E an iconic energy company, one of the industry’s leaders for a century.
PG&E stock has been on a steady climb since last year, until the recent market turbulence. It closed at $39.64 on August 8.
Amy Standen, Katrina Schwartz and Lisa Pickoff-White all contributed to this report.