Earlier this year, former Eskom CEO, Phakamani Hadebe stepped down as CEO citing extremely difficult and unimaginable demands of the task and demands of the job. Eskom has then started advertising for the role of CEO at the end of July. The struggling power utility has had 10 CEO’s in as many years. The job ad advised that the new incumbent would oversee Eskom’s turnaround strategy, which includes restructuring of the power utility into three entities.
Experts in the field have weighed in with comments on what the focus should be, and has narrowed this down to 7 things the new CEO would need to have a focus on when navigating through this tempestuous period
- They must look forward, not backward – Eskom has been tarnished, it’s reputation completely destroyed and the new CEO should wipe the slate clean, start a fresh, and look forward.
- They must understand the global energy sector as well as the local one – Understand and recognize what is sustainable, look at global trends and stay on par with what’s happening.
- They must inspire – Through their leadership, going forward, they need to inspire confidence.
- They must be politically savvy – It would be unrealistic to expect the position to be depoliticised, this goes with out saying, judging by how highly politicised this position has been previously.
- They must have financial expertise – One of Eskom’s biggest difficulties are the enormous debt they are in, it’s been widely reported and it’s a tough area the new CEO would need to navigate the company through.
- The capacity to make tough or unpopular decisions – A key issue for Eskom is overstaffing. President Cyril Ramaphosa had effectively tied the CEO’s hands by making it clear there would be no job cuts. A 2016 World Bank policy research working paper found that Eskom had the largest workforce out of the electricity sectors in all 39 countries studied, and by its calculation, Eskom was overstaffed by over 65%.