Eskom's highly rated FD Paul O'Flaherty has indicated that he will resign from the utility and will leave the State-owned organisation after the group's annual general meeting, which is scheduled for July 2013
CEO Brian Dames confirmed the resignation at the group's interim results presentation on Tuesday, saying that he was saddened by the decision.
“We all wanted Paul to stay,” Dames said, stressing his “tremendous contribution” to Eskom.
A recruitment process had been initiated for a new FD, as well as for an executive to oversee its capital programme – O'Flaherty had been performing both roles.
O'Flaherty, who replaced Bongani Nqwababa, was officially appointed as Eskom FD in late 2009 at the height of the group's financial and leadership difficulties.
He had indicated to Dames that he planned to pursue "new challenges".
O'Flaherty joined Eskom following a stint as CFO at the Dubai-based Al Naboodah Construction Group, but previously worked at Group Five and PricewaterhouseCoopers in South Africa.
Dames stressed that a new FD would be in place by the time O'Flaherty departs, indicating that it would be critical to have a permanent replacement in the context of an organisation that was relying heavily on local and international bondholders and development financiers to finance its capital programme.
Nearly 80% of the group's R300-billion funding plan, which was outlined on April 1, 2012, was currently in place.
O'Flaherty would continue in his current role until the end of the current financial year and, more critically, until the conclusion of the third multiyear price determination process, which was being overseen by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.
Eskom had submitted an application in which it was requesting yearly increases of 16% for the five-year period, starting on April 1, 2013, and ending on March 31, 2018.
Dames indicated that he would be keen for O’Flaherty’s replacement to be in place to work with him on the preparation of the 2012/13 year-end results.
“Essentially what we are doing, as a board, is implementing our succession management plans – we have started recruitment already,” Dames said, stressing that the transition would be managed properly.