UPDATE 1-South Africa appoints Nampak’s de Ruyter as CEO of Eskom

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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 18 (Reuters) – The South African government has appointed Nampak’s Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter as the new group CEO of struggling state-owned power utility Eskom, the Ministry of Public Enterprises said on Monday.

De Ruyter, who will start his role at Eskom on Jan. 15, 2020, is tasked with splitting the utility into separate units for generation, transmission and distribution, under a plan approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

De Ruyter will leave his post at packaging group Nampak, the company said in a statement.

Eskom’s previous CEO Phakamani Hadebe resigned earlier this year for health reasons, complicating government efforts to turn around the struggling utility.

Hadebe was the 10th CEO in a decade to quit the state company in what has proved a revolving door of top executives and board members.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the power in Africa’s most advanced economy, is dependent on government bailouts and is deep in crisis as sales decline while debt-service costs soar.

Eskom also faces generation capacity constraints, with South Africa plagued by power cuts in recent months, undermining broader efforts to kick-start growth.

“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,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in the statement. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Susan Fenton and James Drummond)

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