The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors on May 20 named OPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Javier Fernandez as the utility’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.
Timothy Burke announced in March that he will retire at the beginning of July.
Fernandez will assume the role July 1. His selection comes after a stakeholder outreach effort in which the utility asked employees, customers, and community leaders what they would like to see in our next CEO. The board asked for this input during its monthly meeting in March, and surveys were submitted at OPPDCommunityConnect.com. Comments were also received via OPPD.com. Directors received feedback from more than 1,000 stakeholders.
During a special board meeting held April 28, directors announced they had selected Fernandez as the sole finalist of five internal applicants to move forward in their selection process. OPPD held a virtual public meet and greet event May 10, to allow the public an opportunity to get to know him better, OPPD said.
“Fernandez has been a steady hand for OPPD, both in terms of financial guidance and navigating times of crisis,” OPPD said. He helped lead the utility’s response to historic flooding in 2019, when the utility’s business continuity plan was activated. He has been doing so, again, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, OPPD noted.
Fernandez, 46, joined the utility in June 2017. He came to OPPD from the Bonneville Power Administration. He had been with the federal power marketing administration since 2012, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Previously, he served as senior vice president of Fixed Income Capital Markets for D.A. Davidson & Company and vice president of Public Finance for Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation, where he performed public finance banking and financial advisory services to municipal jurisdictions, primarily in Oregon.
Fernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Yale University, a Utility Management Certificate from Willamette University, and a Utility Executive Certificate from the University of Idaho.
He currently serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Board of Directors for the bank’s Omaha branch. He is one of three directors appointed to serve who work outside of the banking industry. He also serves on the boards of directors for Habitat for Humanity and Bellevue University.