New Eskom boss took pay cut to take the job: Gordhan

18 November 2019 - 17:18
By Nonkululeko Njilo
Andre de Ruyter has been appointed chief executive of Eskom.
Image: Supplied Andre de Ruyter has been appointed chief executive of Eskom.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday thanked newly appointed Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter for accepting the top job at the embattled entity at a lower salary than the post normally commands.

De Ruyter was appointed on Monday after the CEO job had been vacant since July. The embattled power utility has been beset by financial woes.

"I would like to thank Mr De Ruyter for not only accepting this position at a difficult time for Eskom, but, given Eskom's current financial situation, also agreeing to a lower compensation package than the position currently pays," said Gordhan.

In a statement, the minster said De Ruyter's appointment was in line with recruitment process at Eskom. He was recruited after a head-hunting process and a public advert.

De Ruyter will commence his group CEO duties on January 2020.

He emerged victorious from among 142 candidates, including eight Eskom employees. He was shortlisted alongside 16 people, eight of whom ultimately withdrew.

“The final interview process was undertaken, after which the panel ranked three candidates from six. After further interviews, a list of three candidates with the indication of a preferred candidate was submitted to the shareholder in terms of the memorandum of incorporation (MOI) between Eskom and the government,” said Gordhan.

"The ministers concurred with the board’s recommendation."

Pretoria-born De Ruyter spent 20 years with petrochemicals group Sasol in various senior management posts, which the ministry said gave him significant global exposure in the energy and chemicals industries.

His task now will be to work with Eskom's board, management and the government to spearhead the separation of the parastatal into three entities - generation, transmission and distribution - as well as the creation of Eskom Holdings. 

"I am confident that he will lead a committed and capable management team that will work with him and the board to take Eskom forward,” said Gordhan.

The appointment has been keenly awaited by political stakeholders, markets and the public, as fixing Eskom is widely acknowledged as the most urgent and pressing priority the economy faces. 

BusinessLIVE reported that De Ruyter was a surprise appointment as it had not been widely known that he had applied for the job. There was a strong lobby within the ANC and broader black lobby groups that the CEO should be a black South African.