Debra L. Reed, CEO of Sempra Energy, has been elected chairman of the company effective December 1.

Reed will succeed Donald E. Felsinger, who is retiring at the end of this month after a 40-year career with the company.

Reed has worked for the Sempra Energy companies for 34 years. Prior to her appointment as CEO last year, she was executive vice president of Sempra Energy. Previously, from 2006 to 2010, she served as president and CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas). She also was chief operating officer of the two utilities, after initially being appointed president of SDG&E in 2000.

Reed first joined the company in 1978 as an energy systems engineer at SoCalGas. In 1988, she became the first female officer appointed at SoCalGas.

In 2011 and 2012, Reed was recognized as one of Fortune magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business." She also was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the nation's most influential female CEOs.

Felsinger first joined the company in 1972 as an electrical engineer at SDG&E and rose to become SDG&E's president and CEO in 1996. He has been Sempra Energy's executive chairman since June of last year. Previously, from 2006 to 2012, he served as chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy and, prior to that, as the company's president and chief operating officer.