The Board of Directors of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) has appointed a new CEO for the state-owned power company after sacking Azeb Asnake (Eng.) who has been in office for five years. In a meeting held on Wednesday, the board members decided on the removal of Azeb as well as her entire management team for reasons that are yet to be disclosed.
Abraham Belay (PhD/Eng.) has been picked to run the giant office as its new CEO as of August 27, 2018. A day after the board’s decision, the appointment of Abraham has been sent to the EEP in a letter signed by Girma Birru, chairman of the Board of Directors, who is also a recent appointee. Before his latest appointment, Abraham was the Deputy Director General of Information and Network Service Agency (INSA) responsible for Cyber Technology Engineering Institute.
Azeb’s removal from her office comes five days after she grabbed the headlines following her controversial remarks made during the inauguration ceremony of Repi Waste-to-Energy Plant – a power generating plant constructed for 2.6 billion birr. Her remarks attracted controversy as she revealed the new power plant would generate 25 MW power while the initial plan was to generate 50MW. But no specified reason was given for the reduction of its capacity that saw the production capacity cut in half.
Azeb’s removal has been expected over the past four months following PM Abiy Ahmed’s massive restructuring of government offices under his reform agenda. Meanwhile, unlike the recent controversy, she was praised for the “outstanding” role she played in Ethiopia’s massive power and energy developments.
Among her achievements, she was awarded by POWER-GEN International last year, as the 2017 Power Generation Woman of the Year. The awarding company announced in December 2017 that it was “in recognition of her great work in advancing power generation in Ethiopia”.
When she first entered the industry, Ethiopia’s electric energy was mainly hydro-based and its generation capacity was 2,430 MW. Since then, the electric generated has grown to 4,500 MW. It is to be recalled that Azeb came to the post in 2013 replacing Mihret Debebe who later assumed an advisory role to the former PM Hailemariam Dessalegn.
Before her post as a CEO, she was the project manager of the 1,800MW Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power project. Over the past five years, she has been tasked with overseeing the construction project of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). However, she has been under-fire in connection with the GERD’s construction pace as the electro mechanical parts of the mega project is said to have been encountering major setbacks. Adding insult to injury, the sudden death of its chief project manager, Simegnew Bekele (Eng.), who last month was found dead inside his vehicle, compounded to the problems she and her team encountered.
One goal of EEP is to become a power hub of Africa and reach an electric generation capacity of 17,000 MW by 2020 to create a system that will carry and sustain the economy level of a middle-income country.
This article is taken from thereporterethiopia