PG&E Corp. Chief Executive Officer Geisha Williams is leaving as California\u2019s largest utility owner nears potential bankruptcy. The San Francisco-based company has begun a search for a new CEO following Williams\u2019 departure, according to a statement issued Sunday. PG&E general counsel John Simon will take the helm in the meantime. Williams, 57, took over as CEO in March 2017 and is leaving after a catastrophic three months for PG&E. \u201cI will be leaving PG&E,\u201d Williams said in a separate email, without providing a reason for her departure. \u201cI value the opportunity I\u2019ve had to lead PG&E and wish all of my colleagues well.\u201d The company has seen two-thirds of its market value wiped out since November\u2019s Camp Fire - the deadliest wildfire in California\u2019s history. Investigators have been probing whether the power giant\u2019s equipment ignited the fire, along with its potential liability for blazes that devastated Northern California\u2019s wine country in 2017 - costs that may tally as much as $30 billion. Its debt has been downgraded to junk and state regulators have called for a management shakeup. READ ALSO |\u00a0Singapore's Temasek sells property assets to CapitaLand for $4.4 billion \u201cWhile we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face,\u201d Chairman Richard Kelly said in the company\u2019s statement. The company\u2019s deepening financial crisis has forced California regulators and policy makers to consider a bailout package and PG&E is weighing whether to file for bankruptcy. The utility is planning to notify employees as soon as Monday that it may make a Chapter 11 filing within 15 days, people familiar with the plan said Saturday. Such a notice would be required by state law. The departure of Williams - one of the world\u2019s most powerful women in business - thins the ranks of the roughly two dozen women running S&P 500 companies. She was one of a group of women occupying the C-suite at power companies - including Duke Energy Corp.\u2019s Lynn Good, El Paso Electric Co.\u2019s Mary Kipp, PNM Resources Inc.\u2019s Pat Vincent-Collawn and Sunrun Inc.\u2019s Lynn Jurich. The daughter of Cuban political refugees, Williams became the nation\u2019s first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company when she took over PG&E. Her departure follows the exit of three PG&E executives earlier this month - Patrick Hogan, senior vice president of electric operations at PG&E\u2019s utility unit; Kevin Dasso, vice president of electric asset management; and Gregg Lemler, vice president of electric transmission. Under Williams, PG&E spent millions of dollars trying to convince state lawmakers to change a legal doctrine known as inverse condemnation, under which utilities are liable for damages if their equipment is found to have sparked a wildfire, even if they weren\u2019t negligent. Williams called the doctrine bad public policy that made utilities the default insurer in the state. She said the wildfires were a symptom of climate change with hotter and drier conditions sparking more frequent and intense blazes. While state lawmakers rejected PG&E\u2019s request to change wildfire liability law, they did pass legislation in August that will help PG&E pay for lawsuits arising from the wine country fires. Three months later, however, the utility\u2019s equipment again was being looked at as a possible source of the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people and destroyed the town of Paradise. Support for PG&E\u2019s management eroded even further in December when state regulators accused the utility of falsifying records related to locating and marking underground gas lines from 2012 through 2017 - years in which the company was trying to convince the public that it had cleaned up its act after a 2010 pipeline blast that killed eight in San Bruno, California. The disclosure prompted a key state lawmaker, Bill Dodd, a state senator from Napa who helped draft the fire legislation that was helpful to PG&E, to call for a management shakeup at the company. \u201cEnough is enough,\u201d Dodd said.