Meet the Management Team | Direct Energy

Management Team

Leadership Based on Respect

Our leadership team created, hones, and maintains our company's focus and commitment, and this continues to drive our growth and success. At the same time, we take great care to integrate our Direct Energy values into everything we do. As one of North America's leading integrated energy providers, we have an equal responsibility to all of our stakeholders and the communities in which we are located.

Learn more about the dynamic individuals leading the way for Direct Energy in North America.


Badar Khan

Badar Khan, President and CEO

Badar Khan is the President & CEO of Direct Energy, with overall responsibility for the company's operations in North America. As CEO, he is leading our vision to leverage technology to fundamentally transform the way homes and businesses engage in and use energy.

Badar's extensive experience in energy spans retail power and gas and energy-related services, to wholesale energy trading, to upstream power generation and oil & gas exploration and production. He has been a leader in the restructuring of the retail and wholesale power markets in both the US and the UK.

Badar was appointed CEO in April 2013. He has served in multiple leadership roles at Direct Energy and its parent company, Centrica, including Senior Vice President - US North; Managing Director - British Gas Business; and President – Upstream & Trading. Previously, he was a senior officer of a start-up private retail energy company in the US, and prior to that worked in management consulting with Deloitte Consulting in Boston and KPMG London.

Badar currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Technology Center, the University of Houston Energy Advisory Board, and on the Houston Advisory Council of the Tahirih Justice Center. He also serves on the executive council of TechNet, a group of leading technology CEOs advocating for the innovation economy. Badar holds a degree in engineering from London, and an MBA from the Wharton School. Badar, and his wife, Masu, live in Houston with their three children.


Manu Asthana

Manu Asthana, President, Direct Energy Home

Manu Asthana was recently named the president of Direct Energy Home, a newly created business unit for Direct Energy that will integrate our DE Residential and DE Services business units and allow DE to serve our full residential customer base in a common way. Previously, Manu served as the President of DE Residential.

Before joining the residential business, Manu was Head of Direct Energy Upstream & Trading and prior to this he was the Senior Vice President responsible for the continued formation and growth of the Direct Energy Midstream and Trading line of business.

As President of Direct Energy Residential and now Direct Energy Home, Manu is responsible for leading Direct Energy's residential retail energy activities and integrating this with our DE Services operations throughout North America. While Manu was the Head of Direct Energy Upstream & Trading, he had responsibility for operations at Direct Energy's power generation units, procurement of energy, capacity and ancillary services for Direct Energy's retail businesses and continued growth of Direct Energy's Midstream & Trading line of business. Manu is a member of the Direct Energy Management Team, the Centrica Group Financial Risk Management Committee and the Centrica Senior Leadership Team.

Before joining Direct Energy, Manu was responsible for trading, retail portfolio management for TXU Energy and generation asset management for Luminant Energy's 14,000 MW fleet of generation assets in Texas. Prior to this, he served in several leadership capacities for the TXU group of companies, including as Chief Risk Officer for TXU Corporation. Manu is a graduate of the Leadership Dallas program, class of 2003 and previously served on the associate board of the Cox MBA program at Southern Methodist University.

Manu holds a bachelor's degree in economics with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was designated both a Joseph Wharton Scholar and a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. Manu and his wife, Aparna, have two children and live in Houston, TX.


John Schultz

John Schultz, President, Direct Energy Business

John is currently President of Direct Energy Business. In this role, he is responsible for our North American commercial, industrial and wholesale customer business.

John joined DEB as Head of the East region in November 2013, and prior to that he was Vice President of Sales and Operations for Hess Corporation's Energy Marketing business. He has twenty years of industry experience in a variety of roles including sales, marketing, natural gas and electric supply & trading, M&A and power plant development. He previously served as an Executive Committee Member of the Bayonne Energy Center and Newark Energy Center, two NJ based power plants. John began his career in Alexandria, VA at the Eastern Group and subsequently worked for Statoil Energy, Inc., where he was responsible for their natural gas and electric supply operations.

John has a B.S in Agricultural Economics from Penn State University and has attended executive development programs at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and Harvard Business School. John lives in Westfield, NJ with his wife Suzy and their children Regan and Nathan.


Paul Dobson

Paul Dobson, Chief Operating Officer

Paul Dobson serves as Chief Operations Officer for Direct Energy and is charged with efficiently transforming the company's customer experience. His team includes billing, collections, IT, contact centers and the management of procurement, facilities and real estate.

Since joining DE in 2003, Paul has worked in several business units in Finance and Operations, including Senior Vice President of Finance for Direct Energy Business, Vice President of Finance for Canada East and CFO of British Gas Business. Before becoming COO, he was responsible for delivering an industry-leading customer experience in North America as Head of Customer Operations for Direct Energy Business.

Prior to Direct Energy, Paul worked at CIBC for 10 years in various financial and operational roles, including VP & CFO of CIBC National Bank, a U.S. retail bank. Paul earned an Honors BA from the University of Waterloo, an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and is a CPA and CMA. He has served on the boards of several organizations including The Winchester Thurston School and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Paul resides in Houston, TX with his wife Linda, their two teenage boys, Michael and Eric, and dog Cara. His pastimes include golfing, fishing, boating, and playing ice hockey.


John Varkey

John Varkey, Chief Information Officer

John Varkey is the Chief Information Officer for Direct Energy and is responsible for all aspects of the company's IT agenda across North America. He is also a member of the Direct Energy Management Team and the Centrica Group Information Systems Leadership Team.

John has over 20 years of experience managing IT teams across diverse industries, including financial services, energy, consulting, and technology. In these roles, John has managed all aspects of the IT function, led large transformation efforts, and delivered new IT capabilities to the business. Prior to joining Direct Energy, John was VP of Information Technology at Seahawk Drilling, an energy services company based in Houston, Texas. He has previously held IT management positions with companies such as ADP and JPMorgan Chase.

John holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Rice University. John and his wife live in Houston with their three children.


Melinda Guerra Reeves

Melinda Guerra-Reeves, EVP Human Resources

Melinda Guerra-Reeves is the Executive Vice President (EVP) for Direct Energy and is responsible for leading the organization's people agenda. She brings more than 22 years of Human Resources experience in financial services, insurance, and high tech industries.

Melinda's experience crosses multiple HR disciplines with deep technical expertise in employee relations, talent acquisition, organizational transformations, talent development and culture. Prior to joining Direct Energy, Melinda spent more than 12 years with United Services Automobile Association (USAA), an integrated financial services firm, where she last served as the EVP, People Services, with responsibility for managing the people agenda for more than 24,000 employees. Melinda also held key HR leadership positions with Compaq Computer Corporation and American General Life Insurance.

Melinda holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and is a certified Senior Professional, Human Resources (SPHR). Melinda and her husband, Skip, have three children and reside in Houston, TX.


Jim Steffes

Jim Steffes, EVP External Affairs

Jim Steffes is the EVP of External Affairs for Direct Energy. His newly-created role oversees corporate government and regulatory affairs, media relations, community relations and corporate responsibility.

Steffes spent nearly a decade with Direct Energy prior to his previous positions as CEO of Circular Energy, an innovative solar and energy solutions firm, and NRG Energy as head of Green Mountain Energy. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the competitive energy industry, serving in various roles including business, operation, regulatory and public affairs functions at several retail energy and wholesale commodity firms.

While at Direct Energy, Steffes ran the Texas Residential segment and transformed the trajectory of the business by implementing significant operational improvements, making key acquisitions – including First Choice Power – and launching novel products, including a prepaid electricity plan which leveraged Texas' smart meter deployment and customers' smart phones. Prior to the Texas Residential role, he led the Operations team, supporting more than 1.5 million customers in Texas and Alberta, Canada. The B2B commodity business in the Northeast US was also built during his tenure.

Steffes holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He and his family reside in Houston, Texas.


Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith, EVP General Counsel

Thomas Smith was recently named Executive Vice President and General Counsel, North America, at Direct Energy and is responsible for all aspects of the company's legal function for its business units in North America. Thomas is a member of the Direct Energy Management Team and the Centrica Group General Counsel Leadership Team. He brings more than 14 years of experience managing complex agreements throughout the energy value chain.

Thomas joined Direct Energy from BG Group plc in Houston where he worked for the last decade, most recently as the Deputy General Counsel. In his last role, Thomas managed a team of 45 lawyers and professionals in Houston and in five international locations. Previously, he served as an attorney at Vinson & Elkins LLP representing clients in various areas of corporate finance, project finance/development, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures as well as business law.

Thomas holds his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School. Thomas and his wife, Becky, live in Houston with their four children.


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