Applications open for South Africa’s most challenging CEO job

Eskom, the monolithic state-owned South African power utility that’s grappling with an unsustainable debt load and chronic operational problems, has advertised for a new chief executive officer two months after Phakamani Hadebe announced he’d vacate the post.

The job is probably one of South Africa’s most challenging – it entails overseeing a company that supplies about 95% of the nation’s electricity, has more than 47,600 employees and revenue of R190 billion ($13.6 billion) yet isn’t selling enough power to cover its costs.

Hadebe said he would quit at the end of this month because the role comes with “unimaginable demands” that have taken a toll on his health.

The new CEO is required to have experience overseeing “significant change in a complex organisation with at least 20,000 employees and an annual turnover in excess of R30 billion,”

Eskom said in its advertisement. He or she will also play a leading role in restructuring the utility, including implementing plans to split it into generation, distribution and transmission units under a state holding company.

“A competitive executive-level package will be tailored to attract the right caliber candidate, subject to approved remuneration and incentive guidelines,” Eskom said.

Other requirements include a university degree, ideally at a post-graduate level, 20 years work experience and strong commercial acumen, while experience and expertise in the engineering, construction and energy fields will be an advantage. Applications close on 2 August.

Read: Eskom set to name ‘bad cop’ CEO to oversee rescue

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Applications open for South Africa’s most challenging CEO job