South Africa

Eskom CEO appointment can take months

Mpho Makwana

Eskom has a “rich” choice of candidates to fill the role of chief executive officer, but the appointment process could take months to conclude, according to its chairman.

Eskom has been instituting record blackouts as its poorly maintained and defective plants fail to keep pace with supply, but its board has yet to appoint a new CEO despite having been aware since December that the post was falling vacant.

Andre de Ruyter stepped down as the utility’s boss on Feb. 22 — more than a month before his scheduled March 31 departure date — after censuring the government and the governing party over corruption.

The CEO post has been temporarily filled by Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim, who also continues to oversee the loss-making company’s finances.

Changes to the top management structure could take some time to effect, with the period dependent on the exit terms the next CEO agreed with their previous employer, Eskom Chairman Mpho Makwana said in an interview Friday with Johannesburg-based broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

“Some people will have to serve three months’ notice, some six, some — god forbid — a year,” he said. “We have a rich list. When the time is right, we will come and say this is the person that will join.”

While the utility has begun searching for a candidate to permanently replace its head of generation who quit last year, it doesn’t intend to fill the post of chief operating officer, after the incumbent Jan Oberholzer retires in April.

The utility faces other monumental tasks: splitting into three businesses in an effort to become profitable and transitioning from the coal it burns to produce 80% of the nation’s electricity, to cleaner sources of energy.


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