Explainer: André de Ruyter's background as he begins work at Eskom

Explainer: André de Ruyter's background as he begins work at Eskom

André de Ruyter started one of the hardest jobs in South Africa over the festive period. Briefly.co.za takes a look at everything we know so far about the new Eskom CEO.

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Eskom is arguably one of Mzansi's least favourite state-owned entities with load-shedding impacting citizens nationwide.

De Ruyter is tasked with leading the cash-strapped power utility, navigating maintenance failures and ageing stations to light up the country. This is a task that the entity's 10 former CEOs apparently couldn't manage.

Briefly.co.za reported that André's appointment had garnered backlash before he set foot on-site, with some claiming it was anti-transformation.

READ ALSO: Ramaphosa defends the appointment of André de Ruyter as Eskom CEO

But who is this elusive executive? Here's everything that we know so far:

1. Education

Born in Pretoria, De Ruyter obtained a BA degree from the University of Pretoria, an LLB from UNISA and an MBA from a University in the Netherlands, reports Business Insider.

2. Sasol success

Fresh out of university, De Ruyter started his career with the petroleum behemoth Sasol. Holding numerous posts over a variety of internal sectors, he led the development of the company's synthetic fuel plant in China.

De Ruyter went on to lead North American operations, but his crowning achievement was restoring losses in German projects. Sasol had originally wanted to off-load the projects, but his ingenuity managed to turn the situation around.

3. Coal King

Energy expert Chris Yelland credited De Ruyter with being well-equipped for the job due to Sasol's role in providing energy.

The company owns coal mines, using the resources gathered to generate its own electricity. A former co-worker lauds De Ruyter as 'Mr Coal', successfully running a company that relied heavily on its own power.

4. Nampak drama

When the executive left Sasol, he was running around 90% of it. Heading over to Nampak, a packaging manufacturer, was joining an already sinking ship.

Struggling with a R5.7 billion debt burden, the company began aggressively expanding into other African nations.

De Ruyter managed to reduce this debt by more than R1.7 billion by the time he moved to Eskom last year.

5. Friends in high places

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni crossed paths with De Ruyter at Nampak, where he served as chair for four years before the new CEO joined its ranked.

Mboweni resigned from his post when he returned to public service. Public Investment Corporation chair Dr Reuel Khoza served with both men on the company's board.

6. Some good news for ratepayers

De Ruyter has stood in opposition to Eskom's tariff hikes for quite some time, demanding the utility should fix its problems without turning to Mzansi's pockets.

The new CEO wanted the state to give companies lower rates, blaming high costs for a faltering manufacturing sector.

De Ruyter felt that reduced energy prices could boost the economy and provide numerous job opportunities.

7. Money matters

De Ruyter enjoyed a monumental salary during his time at Nampak, bringing home around R18.3 million in the year before his resignation.

This is more than double what predecessor Phakamani Hadebe earned during his time at Eskom. However, the new boss has reportedly agreed to take a pay cut.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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