Eskom appoints Chief Operating Officer

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Eskom has appointed Jan Oberholzer as its Chief Operating Officer.

On Friday, the power utility announced the appointment of Oberholzer as the new Chief Operating Officer for Eskom.

Oberholzer has 38 years of working experience of which 24 were at Eskom where he held various positions, including that of the COO of the Distribution Division.

Most recently he successfully led the improvement of a number of Hydro power plants in Zambia.

“Jan brings with a wealth of operational experience in the energy sector as well as valuable institutional memory which I am confident will stand him in good stead to successfully reform our operations and set them up for sustainable success,” said the utility’s Group Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe.

Eskom said following the appointment of its board on 20 January, the board was mandated to resolve and take decisions to address the immediate challenges facing the power utility.

Key to this mandate was to bring stability to the executive leadership structures of Eskom through, amongst others, prioritising the appointment of a permanent Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and Group Chief Financial Officer (GCFO).

“In the process of identifying suitable candidates for appointment to the GCEO position, the Board also assessed the appropriateness of the current functional structure taking into account the enormity of the current operational and financial challenges faced by Eskom. In this regard, the Board was of the view that the size, functional diversity and complexity of Eskom as it stands warrants a three-person top team: a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Operating Officer (COO).” 

Eskom said while a detailed and thorough review of the structure will still need to be undertaken which may necessitate further changes to the structure to mirror the new strategy to be adopted.

“The Eskom Board is committed to finding the most suitable candidate for appointment to the GCFO position as this is a critical portfolio. This process will be concluded in the coming weeks.”

Commitment to reducing cost base

Meanwhile, the power utility said it noted a media report in which the utility is said to “splurging on execs”.

“Eskom has stated that its focus is on maximising revenue and reducing costs, with a view to enhancing its financial sustainability. In line with this, Eskom has taken difficult decisions such as reducing capital expenditure from R55 billion to R45 billion, a saving of R10 billion per annum,” said Hadebe.

Hadebe emphasised that reducing costs while maximising revenue is key to Eskom’s strategy.

“We have identified new revenue streams that will deliver an additional R1.5 billion by the end of the financial year. Whilst this indicates the right trajectory, as Eskom management we acknowledge that this is not adequate.

“We have since identified other measures that will further reduce operating costs, included here are employee productivity levels of which employee benefits is part. This is being discussed at the highest decision-making levels of Eskom,” he said. -