Charles Rice became president and chief executive officer of Entergy New Orleans, Inc., a $750 million a year electric and gas utility, on June 14, 2010.
Taking over the electric and gas utility that has been in a growth mode since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rice is responsible for the company’s financial and operational performance, customer service, regulatory and governmental relations, economic development programs, external and internal communications, charitable contributions and environmental policy. At the core of his operational responsibilities is management of the company’s electric and gas distribution systems to New Orleans customers.
Under Rice’s leadership since 2010, Entergy New Orleans negotiated with the New Orleans City Council through the formula rate plan process resulting in lower rates for electric customers for four straight years. Entergy New Orleans also has improved service reliability through hundreds of electric system improvement projects throughout the city. The company is also managing the industry’s largest natural gas rebuild effort in history – the replacement of approximately 844 miles of underground pipe damaged after Hurricane Katrina – and continues to be ahead of schedule and under budget, while constantly improving reliability to gas customers.
After his first legal private practice position in Louisiana with Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre, L.L.P, Rice joined Entergy in the legal department in 2000, serving as senior counsel in the Entergy Services, Inc. litigation group and then as manager of labor relations litigation support in human resources.
Rice was recruited into New Orleans city government in 2002 as the city attorney and later took the critical role of chief administrative officer for the City of New Orleans, where he managed 6,000 employees and the city’s $600 million budget. In 2005, the law firm of Barrasso, Usdin, Kupperman, Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C. recruited him back to private practice, where he was named partner.
Returning to Entergy in 2009, Rice served as director of utility strategy where he was responsible for coordinating regulatory, legislative, and communications efforts to develop and execute strategies that advanced commercial objectives for the company’s regulated service areas. He then served as director of regulatory affairs for Entergy New Orleans.
Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard University, a juris doctorate from Loyola University’s School of Law and master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University. After graduating from Howard University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and served as a military intelligence officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. While in the Army, he earned the Airborne Badge, Air Assault badge and was awarded the Army Commendation and the Army Achievement medals.
He is a member of the Alabama and Louisiana State Bar Associations, the American Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He received the Loyola University School of Law Distinguished Moot Court Alumni Award in 2004. New Orleans City Business magazine also recognized Rice as a member of the Power Generation in 2003 and as a “Leader in Law” in 2008.
In addition to serving on the visiting committees of the Loyola University School of Law and the Howard University School of Business, he is a member of the Business Council of New Orleans executive committee, and serves on the boards of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Dillard University, OncBioMune Pharmaceuticals Inc., University Medical Center, and former president of the Boy Scouts of America’s Southeast Louisiana Council. Rice currently serves as Area 1 President of the Southern Region of the Boy Scouts of America and is President of the United Way of Greater New Orleans. The mayor of New Orleans also appointed Rice to the NOLA Business Alliance board, the city’s first-ever public-private partnership for economic development.
A respected keynote speaker and panelist, Rice addresses local, national and international forums on topics ranging from utility industry issues to leadership development. His recent participation includes the Caribbean-Central American Action’s Annual Conference, Southeastern Electric Exchange Claims Section, American Bar Association Minority Counsel Program, Loyola Law School Diversity Symposium, YMCA Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Revius Ortique Leadership Institute, Loyola Law School Centennial Film, Honore Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement and the Delgado Community College Diversity Leadership Roundtable.