Changing of the guard for energy networks

There have been some significant leadership changes recently at Australia’s energy networks.

We outline some of the recent appointments below.

These experienced industry professionals are taking the helm at an exciting time in the sector that is seeing unprecedented change.

Customers are consuming energy differently and are generating large quantities of their own.

Networks continue to innovate to ensure reliable and affordable energy for today and the future.

Energy Queensland (QLD)

During May 2019, David Smales resigned as CEO of Energy Queensland (EQ) due to travel requirements to support his family in the United Kingdom[i]. Following a nation-wide recruitment process, Rod Duke was appointed, taking the helm on 1 April 2020.

Rod previously served as CEO of the Gladstone LNG project operating company for Santos and its partners.

He has extensive industry experience having worked in roles with Woodside, at Singapore’s Energy Market Authority and as an executive with Singapore LNG Corporation.

AusNet Services (Vic)

AusNet Services’ Managing Director and former Energy Networks Australia Chair Nino Ficca announced his retirement in April 2019 after 37 years in the industry.

On 1 November 2019, Tony Narvaez took over the reins of the Victorian transmission and energy distribution business as the new Managing Director.

Tony has extensive experience in the energy sector, with prior roles including CEO of Endeavour Energy, CEO of United Energy and head of Multinet Gas.

Tony has also held senior executive roles at General Electric, ATCO Group and Verve Energy, spanning strategy, business development, commercial, operations, major projects and joint ventures in Australia and internationally.

Endeavour Energy (NSW)

To fill the role left by Tony, Guy Chalkley was appointed Endeavour Energy CEO in December 2019 and took up the position in April 2020.

Guy has a wealth of international, financial and operational experience gained across a diverse range of sectors operating and residing in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America.

In July 2016, Guy was appointed CEO of Western Power after earlier roles including Chief Financial Officer and senior business strategy and commercial roles. This was the role Guy held prior to starting at Endeavour.

Before joining Western Power, he worked for a decade at Veolia Water and Thames Water in senior finance and regulatory roles.

Guy is also on the board of Energy Networks Australia.

Western Power (WA)

Guy’s appointment at Endeavour left a vacancy in the leadership of WA’s Western Power. Davy Fyfe was Acting CEO until Ed Kalajzic was appointed in May 2020[ii].

Ed started at Western Power in October 2019 as Chief Financial Officer.

Previously, Ed had senior management and leadership roles at Price Waterhouse Coopers, CBH Group, Viriids Ag and the CBH Superannuation Fund.

Ed’s roles at CBH Group included Business Development Manager and Chief Financial Officer and his most recent role before Western Power was General Manager WA for Viridis Ag.

Powerlink (QLD)

Probably the sector’s worst kept secret was the appointment of Paul Simshauser as Chief Executive of Queensland transmission network, Powerlink.

Paul filled the vacancy left by former CEO Merryn York, who resigned to take on the role of Commissioner for the Australian Energy Market Commission. Long-time Powerlink executive Kevin Kehl acted in the role during the recruitment process.

Paul brings to Powerlink more than 20 years’ experience in the energy industry across the public and private sectors. He has extensive experience in generation, retail, energy policy and the regulatory environment.

He joins Powerlink from Infigen Energy where he was Executive General Manager – Energy Markets.  Paul’s previous roles include Director-General of the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply and Chief Economist and Group Head of Corporate Affairs at AGL Energy Ltd.  He has also held executive positions at Stanwell Corporation and Babcock & Brown.

Paul is also Professor of Economics at Griffith University’s Business School, a member of CEDA’s Council on Economic Policy, a Research Associate at the Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge University, and is widely published on energy economics in academic journals.

He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for significant contribution to the energy industry through his executive roles and applied economics and policy research.

Power and Water Corporation (NT)

The NT networks service provider is currently recruiting to permanently fill the role of CEO. Former Power and Water executive Djuna Pollard moved back from Jacana Energy in December 2019 to be Acting CEO.