​​​​​​Meet the Board of Directors

At CenterPoint Energy, our board of directors and executive management team are committed to building a company that is Always There for its customers, employees and shareholders.

Wendy Montoya Cloonan

Wendy Montoya Cloonan has been a director since February 2021. Ms. Cloonan is the sole shareholder of The Law Office of Wendy Montoya Cloonan, PLLC, since August 2019, which specializes in the areas of public finance and public law. Before founding her own firm, Ms. Cloonan worked at the Houston Endowment, Inc., a private foundation that partners with other organizations in the non-profit, public and private sectors to improve quality of life for the residents of greater Houston, from February 2015 to July 2019 where she served as Senior Program Officer in Education, Assistant General Counsel and Director of Legal. Prior to joining Houston Endowment, Inc., Ms. Cloonan served as an attorney at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (formerly, Andrews Kurth LLP), Schwartz, Page & Harding, L.L.P. and Vinson & Elkins LLP. Ms. Cloonan has served as a commissioner of the Port of Houston Authority since 2019 and on the Board of directors of the Houston Downtown Management District since 2015. She also currently serves on the Boards of the Harris County Hospital District Foundation since 2021, The Young Center since 2020, and ALMAAHH since 2022. She earned a B.A. degree from Yale University, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a J.D. with Honors from The University of Texas School of Law.

Earl Cummings

Earl M. Cummings has been a director since July 2020. Since 2012, Mr. Cummings has served as Managing Partner of MCM Houston Properties, LLC, a real estate fund that invests in single-family residential properties in Houston, Texas. In his role as Managing Partner, he is responsible for overall capital raising, investment, acquisition, and business strategies of the fund and its assets. Mr. Cummings also serves as Chief Executive Officer of The BTS Team, which began as an information technology and staffing firm providing solutions and services across various regions and evolved into a company that also invested financial resources in various industries to create value for shareholders and other stakeholders, and he previously served as its Chief Information Officer and Chairman of its Board. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of Best Assets, Inc., a private company providing real estate portfolio management and related services. Since February 2022, Mr. Cummings also serves on the Board of Directors of Halliburton Company. Active across communities and in non-profit board service, Mr. Cummings has served on the Boards of the University of Houston Board of Visitors, C-STEM Robotics (where he was founding Chairman of the Executive Board for C-STEM), Yellowstone Academy and has also served on the Advisory Boards for KIPP Academy and Texas Southern University School of Business.

Christopher Franklin

Christopher H. Franklin has been a director since April 2022. Since 1992, Mr. Franklin has served in various roles at Essential Utilities, Inc. (f.k.a. AquaAmerica, Inc.), a public company providing regulated utilities, including water, wasterwater and natural gas, to customers in 10 states. Since 2015, Mr. Franklin has served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essential Utilities, Inc. In addition to his current service on the Board of Directors of Essential Utilities, Inc. since 2015, he previously served on the Board of Directors of ITC Holdings from 2011-2016. Mr. Franklin is active in the Pennsylvania community where he serves on a number of nonprofit and higher education boards, including the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees and the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. Mr. Franklin earned his B.S. from West Chester University and his M.B.A. from Villanova University.

David Lesar

David J. Lesar has been a director since May 2020 and President and Chief Executive Officer of CenterPoint Energy since July 2020. He served as interim Chief Executive Officer of Health Care Service Corporation, the largest privately held health insurer in the United States, from July 2019 through June 1, 2020 and a director from 2018 to July 2020. Prior to joining Health Care Service Corporation, Mr. Lesar served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton Company from 2000 to 2017 and as its Executive Chairman of the Board from June 2017 until December 2018. Mr. Lesar joined Halliburton in 1993 and served in a variety of other roles, including executive vice president of Finance and Administration for Halliburton Energy Services, a Halliburton business unit, Chief Financial Officer of Halliburton from 1995 through May 1997 and President and Chief Operating Officer from May 1997 through August 2000. He has also served on the Board of Directors of several companies, most recently Agrium, Inc. as well as Lyondell Chemical Co., Southern Co., Cordant Technologies and Mirant Corp.

David Lesar

Raquelle W. Lewis has been a director since September 2021. She has served as Interim Director of Communications & Public Affairs for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), a state government organization that constructs and maintains highway, aviation, rail and public transportation systems, since July 2022. In this position, Ms. Lewis is responsible for overseeing the communication efforts of TxDOT and serving as TxDOT’s principal liaison to the media, elected officials and the general public in southeast Texas, including Houston. Ms. Lewis also serves as chief spokesperson for TxDOT during severe weather events and other emergencies in Houston and the surrounding areas, including supporting strategic planning and crisis and risk management efforts. Additionally, she is responsible for communications and community outreach, strategy and implementation for various infrastructure projects in Texas. Ms. Lewis joined TxDOT in 2008 and served in various other roles, including as Director, Southeast Texas Communications and Public Information Offices, Special Advisor to the TxDOT Executive Director and the Executive Administration. Prior to her service at TxDOT, Ms. Lewis spent 10 years at Parsons Brinkerhoff, Inc., a multinational engineering and design firm that specializes in strategic consulting, planning, engineering, construction management, energy, infrastructure and community planning, serving in various positions, including Supervising Planner/Program Manager. Ms. Lewis has also held various positions, including Director of Information & Technology Transfer, at Texas Southern University Center for Transportation Training & Research. She is also a member of WTS International, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – Houston Branch and Leadership Women, Inc.

Martin Nesbitt Martin H. Nesbitt has been a director since April 2018 and has been Independent Chair of the Board since July 2021. Since 2013, Mr. Nesbitt has served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Vistria Group, LLC, a Chicago-based investment firm focused on the education, healthcare and financial services industries. Prior to co-founding Vistria, Mr. Nesbitt served as Chief Executive Officer of PRG Parking Management (known as The Parking Spot), an owner and operator of off-airport parking facilities, from 1996 to 2012. Prior to The Parking Spot, Mr. Nesbitt also served as officer of the Pritzker Realty Group, L.P. and as Vice President and Investment Manager at LaSalle Partners, with a variety of responsibilities including investment management for regional retail properties. Mr. Nesbitt has served on the Boards of Directors of American Airlines Group, Inc. since 2015 and Chewy, Inc. since 2020. He also previously served on the Board of Directors of Jones Lang LaSalle and Norfolk Southern Corporation. He is a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and serves as Chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation.
R.A. Walker Theodore F. Pound has been a director since April 2015. Mr. Pound is a private investor and attorney. He served as Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Select Energy Services, LLC, a private company providing water solutions and well-site services to energy producers, from January 2013 to January 2016. He previously served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Allis-Chalmers Energy, Inc., a publicly traded oilfield services company, from September 2004 to March 2011, when it was acquired by Seawall Limited. Mr. Pound has practiced law in Texas for nearly 40 years, primarily in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, securities, compliance and governance.
Phillip R. Smith

Phillip R. Smith has been a director since March 2014. Since December 2019, Mr. Smith has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Marathon-Sparta Holdings, Inc., a private company involved in non-healthcare related employee benefits programs and affiliated through common ownership with Torch Energy Advisors, Inc., a private energy company with interests in oil, gas and renewable energy, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from January 2013 through December 2019. Prior to joining Torch, Mr. Smith was a partner with KPMG LLP from 2002 to 2012. Since October 2021, Mr. Smith also serves on the Board of Directors of Health Care Service Corporation. Mr. Smith also served on the Board of Directors and as audit committee chair for Oilstone Energy Services, Inc., a position he held from October 2014 to June 2016.

Barry Smitherman

Barry T. Smitherman has been a director since May 2020. Since January 2017, Mr. Smitherman has served as President and principal attorney of Barry Smitherman, P.C., a law firm specializing in water, electricity and natural gas, and as the managing partner of Smitherman + Associates, L.P., a firm providing consulting services to energy infrastructure-related entities. Mr. Smitherman is also an adjunct professor at The University of Texas School of Law where he teaches courses in Texas energy law. He previously served as a partner in the energy regulatory practice at Vinson & Elkins LLP, an international law firm, from March 2015 to January 2017. He previously served on the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), a state agency that oversees the oil, natural gas, coal mining, pipeline and natural gas utility industries in Texas, from July 2011 through January 2015, including as chairman of the RRC from February 2012 to August 2014. Mr. Smitherman also served on the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), a state agency that regulates the electric, water and landline telecommunications industries in Texas, from April 2004 through July 2011, including as chairman of the PUCT from November 2007 through July 2011. During this time period, Mr. Smitherman served two terms on the U.S. Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee, including as chairman of the Transmission Subcommittee, on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), including as chairman of its Gas committee and a member of the Energy Resources and the Environment committee, on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors and on the regional state committee of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Prior to public service, Mr. Smitherman spent 16 years as an investment banker, holding leadership roles with First Boston, J.P. Morgan Securities and Banc One Capital Markets (as Managing Director and National Head of Public Finance). Mr. Smitherman currently serves as Chairman of the Brookwood in Georgetown Board of Directors, a non-profit organization which provides work, housing and artistic opportunities to special needs adults. He received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, his M.P.A. from Harvard University, and his B.B.A. summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.