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Deans Leadership Guest: Financing the Global Energy Transition
André de Ruyter
Recently Retired Group Chief Executive - Eskom Holdings
Until February 2023, André de Ruyter was Eskom Holdings’ Group Chief Executive (GCE), overseeing an integrated electricity utility with some 40,000 employees, and annual sales of US$15 billion. Eskom provides 95% South Africa’s electricity needs and approximately 45% of the electricity used across the Africa. Under André‘s leadership, Eskom operated 30 power stations, including coal and nuclear power stations, hydro, pumped storage and gas-fired peaking power stations as well as a wind farm. Eskom has a total nominal capacity of over 44 000 MW, supported by a network consisting of almost 400 000 km of high, medium, and low-voltage lines serving over 6 million direct customers. Eskom also manages an electricity market supplied by independent power producers in a liberalizing market, a positive trend that André has strongly advocated.
A seasoned executive with a career spanning 34 years, André has gained extensive experience both in South Africa and internationally in energy, chemicals, coal, gas and oil, as well as manufacturing across various African countries. André holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, a Bachelor of Law (LLB) obtained from the University of South Africa, as well as a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
He has lived and worked in various leadership roles in China, Germany and South Africa, and overseen operations in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
While Chief Executive at Nampak, Africa’s largest packaging company, he was Chairman of the Manufacturing Circle, and was lead author of a document containing policy proposals to drive reindustrialization in South Africa.
When asked why he accepted the leading role at Eskom, South Africa’s highly indebted and corruption-ridden energy utility, André maintained the importance of energy in driving economic growth and development and was committed to restoring Eskom’s operational and financial performance, credibility, and reputation. From the outset, he had a focus on decarbonizing Eskom’s generation fleet, and reducing water consumption and environmental impact. Passionate about employee engagement, André made a concerted effort to connect with people across the business and share the vision to re-invigorating, rejuvenating and redefining Eskom’s destiny to lead the just energy transition in a sustainable manner. He has also played a key role in rebuilding Eskom’s credibility with financial institutions, the media, business organizations, customers, NGOs, and community groups.
He is committed to enabling the responsible yet accelerated decarbonization of the energy and other industries and played a key role in conceptualizing and negotiating the $8.5 billion SA Just Energy Transition facility announced at COP26, and other large climate financing facilities with DFIs, the Climate Investment Fund and the World Bank. He has consistently advocated for considering the legitimate concerns of those who are invested in the coal value chain, whether personally or financially, and developing alternative pathways to ensure that South Africa can equitably be weaned off its coal dependency while ensuring a net gain in employment, economic growth, and energy security, while benefiting the environment. A firm believer in a business approach to solving problems, he developed a number of innovative structures to enable the acceleration of the roll-out of renewable energies. He resigned from Eskom at the end of February 2023.
A strong believer in the importance of good business ethics and strong governance, he has written a best-selling memoir about his time at Eskom, coming out strongly against corruption, malfeasance and poor policy choices and integration and strongly for a greener, more inclusive energy system.