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Eskom leadership in crisis as two senior execs quit

South Africa’s utility has taken yet another knock this week as two of its longest-serving and most senior executives have resigned.

Group executive for sustainability Steve Lennon and group executive for enterprise development Erica Johnson have both given six month’s notice after serving the company 31 and 20 years, respectively.

The announcement comes a week before the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Tshediso Matona is due to commence office and at a time when Eskom faces challenging financial circumstances and electricity-generation capacity problems.

Spokesman for Eskom, Andrew Etzinger said the resignations had come at different times and were not a result of any recent incident. “Neither have indicated the reasons for their resignation but the fact that both gave six months’ notice is an indication that (there) has not been a breakdown in relationships,” he said.

Dr Lennon said his reasons for leaving were “about my personal choices and options for the future”.

Dr Lennon, who was controversially overlooked for the position of acting CEO following the departure of former CEO Brian Dames in March, said Mr Matona had his full support. Although the board had preferred Dr Lennon over acting CEO Collin Matjila, it had been asked by then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba to reconsider.

Dr Lennon said: “I fully support the new CEO and intend to work closely with him over the next six months in ensuring a smooth transition. In addition, Eskom has a great depth of leadership and management talent and as such I do not anticipate that my leaving will be disruptive to the business.”

Eskom insiders said that despite the experience of the two executives, they had served their time and perhaps needed to move on. The core strength of Eskom lies in the layer below the executive directors. There are still some very good people there on whom Eskom depends,” said one.


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