After six years, the controversial head of the grid operator, Yakout Mansour, announced April 5 he\u2019s retiring June 1. \u201cStanding together with one of the most talented teams in the business, I see that we have achieved in six years what many said couldn\u2019t be done in a decade,\u201d stated Mansour, California Independent System Operator chief executive officer and president. Under Mansour, the grid operator increased available generation and transmission. It came close to issuing a conservation alert to avert potential outages during a heat storm, but generally has more resources than required--even during hot spells. CAISO\u2019s wholesale market became more complex and granular, with more market products available through shorter bid time windows. CAISO the last few years also approved four major transmission projects that could move 12,300 MW of power if they all are built. Bob Foster, CAISO\u2019s sole board member until mid-week, called Mansour\u2019s retirement \u201ca little unexpected.\u201d After working 40 years, he said Mansour decided to resign to deal with family issues related to his children. Foster told Current he plans to travel from his home in Long Beach where he serves as mayor to CAISO headquarters in the days ahead to develop a plan for replacing Mansour. \u201cThere are precious few people around the country with those skills,\u201d he said. If a permanent replacement can\u2019t be recruited before Mansour departs June 1, Foster said an interim president may be appointed. Gov. Jerry Brown April 7 announced a second appointment to the CAISO. He picked Richard Maullin, energy consultant and former California Energy Commission chair from 1975-79, during his first term as governor. Under Mansour, CAISO created its Market Redesign Technology Update to address the wide variety of regional conditions on the grid--including demand and transmission constraints--and how they affect price. Prior to the market redesign, there were three price zones or nodes. That grew to 3,500 in the market overhaul to allow data gathering on pricing, availability, and ancillary services, like voltage regulation. The launch of the market overhaul was repeatedly delayed, largely because of its complexity. Mansour received mixed reviews from stakeholders. But, he was credited for his work on the market redesign formally launched April 1, 2009. \u201cHe successfully got it off the ground and running. That was a major achievement,\u201d said Jan Smutny-Jones, Independent Energy Producers executive director. Mansour successfully tackled \u201cmultiple complex initiatives like MRTU, transmission expansion, and renewables integration,\u201d noted Pedro Pizarro, president of Edison International subsidiary, Edison Mission Group. Others objected to the direction Mansour took CAISO. \u201cIt became a brand new utility,\u201d said Gary Ackerman, Western Power Trading Forum executive director. He complained about the \u201clack of transparency, inability to listen to multiple sides, and paralysis.\u201d Mansour\u2019s retirement is seen as creating the opportunity to make the grid operator more renewable resource- friendly. Under his tenure, the grid operator was criticized as fossil fuel power-centric and skeptical about higher renewable energy levels, seeing them as a problem instead of an opportunity. A new chief executive officer and board members need to shift the CAISO\u2019s focus from \u201cviewing renewables as a problem and something to be resisted to being the central focus of the institution,\u201d said V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director. He added that although integrating renewables into CAISO\u2019s grid has been \u201ca slow and difficult process,\u201d Mansour and key staff recently helped pave the way for more alternative power. Mansour also took heat for not integrating CAISO\u2019s market with those of the public power agencies. In 2004, the grid operator\u2019s board sought a leader with a technical focus and one less swayed by politics. Mansour is a professional engineer and previously served as an executive at British Columbia Transmission Corp. and BC Hydro. The CAISO lacked a permanent chief executive officer for more than a year after Terry Winter resigned June 1, 2004. Winter managed the entity after it was created during by the deregulation law and ensuing 2000-01 energy crisis. He became Sacramento politicians\u2019 lighting rod. Former Senator Steve Peace, co-author of the shredded 1996 energy deregulation legislation, slammed Winter and the entity. During a hearing last year in Sacramento on phasing out 19 once-through water-cooled power plants on the coast, Peace insisted CAISO never saw a fossil project it didn\u2019t like. After Winter\u2019s departure, CAISO was managed by two interim heads: first Jeff Tranen then Marcie Edwards, Anaheim Public Utilities general manager. A possible interim CAISO president after Mansour\u2019s exit is Steve Berberich, the current CAISO chief operating officer, according to sources.