Eskom has a “rich” choice of candidates to fill the role of CEO, but the appointment process could take months to conclude, according to its chairman.
The failing state-owned electricity utility 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.
André de Ruyter stepped down as the utility’s boss on 22 February — more than a month before his scheduled 31 March 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 on Friday with 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 filling 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 coal it burns to produce 80% of the nation’s electricity, to cleaner sources of energy. — Reported with assistance from S’thembile Cele, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP