New general manager for Austin Energy among several key Austin leadership appointments

Austin's interim city manager Jesús Garza announced several key leadership appointments, including the next general manager of Austin Energy.

Bob Kahn, who currently serves as the general manager of the Texas Municipal Power Agency, will be leading Austin Energy beginning July 3. Kahn previously served as the president and CEO of ERCOT from 2007-09. 

Prior to that role, Kahn served as Deputy General Manager, General Counsel and Vice President for Legal Services at Austin Energy.

Kahn will oversee the day-to-day operations of Austin Energy.

Ken Snipes, who has served as director of Austin Resource Recovery since October 2019, will serve as Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) beginning June 19. Snipes, an Air Force veteran, held several leadership positions at Seattle Public Utilities before coming to Austin.

The current director, Juan Ortiz, is stepping down from the role after six years of working with the city.

Bob Kahn. (Austin Energy)

"I am honored to have served our community for the last six years. I have offered my full support to the incoming Department Director and to the Austin community to ensure a smooth transition," said Ortiz. "I’m proud of the work we’ve done at HSEM, and I'm very proud of the team of strong and highly trained emergency managers we’ve developed."

As HSEM director, Ortiz coordinated emergency response during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, shelter operations for Hurricanes Harvey and Laura, and support during the 2018 Austin serial bombings.

José Roig has been named Director of the Development Services Department, where he has served as interim director since January 2023.

Michele Middlebrook-Gonzales enters the newly created position of Chief Strategic Communications and External Relations Officer. She currently works at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas as a communications consultant.

David Gray, the current assistant director in the Economic Development Department, will begin a special assignment focused on the City of Austin's programs and funding that addresses homelessness.