South Africa power shake-up looms as ailing Eskom welcomes new CEO

Eskom’s new chief executive took charge of the crisis-plagued utility on Monday, embarking sooner than planned on the mammoth task of fixing a national power deficit and restructuring debts that have hobbled South Africa’s economy.

Andre de Ruyter, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November, will oversee a government plan to split state-owned Eskom into three units - for generation, transmission and distribution - in an attempt to make it more efficient. De Ruyter had been due to start work on Jan. 15, but the sense of crisis surrounding the firm, which has been leaderless since July and imposed the latest in a long run of power cuts at the weekend, persuaded him to take the helm early.

In a previous role as CEO of Nampak, de Ruyter steered the packaging company through financial difficulties, and part of his new brief is to restructure Eskom’s 450 billion rand ($31 billion) debt pile. (Reuters)

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