Batteries and automotive group Metair has appointed former Absa and Eskom executive. Paul O’Flaherty as its new CEO.
Automotive components and batteries group Metair has appointed former ArcelorMittal SA and Eskom executive Paul O’Flaherty as its new CEO from the beginning of February.
O’Flaherty replaces Sjoerd Douwenga, who has resigned due to health reasons after less than a year on the job. O’Flaherty’s contract is for three years.
The appointment comes amid pressure on the group, which has seen a number of board member exits over the past year or so. Bridgitte Matthews quit as non-executive director towards the end of April, not long after chair Michael Flemming left, supposedly for personal reasons.
Metair’s Romanian battery company Rombat has also been flagged for potentially violating EU Anti-trust laws, while its local operations have come under pressure after flooding in KwaZulu-Natal. It has also been facing severe inflation in Turkey, a key market, as well as pressure on customers in Russia as a result of sanctions.
The company’s shares lost just over a third of their value in 2023. It is valued at just over R3 billion on the JSE.
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O’Flaherty, a chartered accountant, joins Metair from EY Parthenon (Africa), the global strategy consulting arm of Ernst & Young, which he led from February 2021. Prior to joining EY, he had the overall responsibility for the separation of Absa from Barclays.
He also spent just over three years as CFO of Eskom, a position he left in mid-2013. He had also served as CEO of SA’s biggest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, for 18 months, leaving that position in mid-2016.
“Paul has a remarkable track record across multiple emerging markets coupled with in-depth experience in turnarounds, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, and programme and project management,” Metair said on Monday.
“The board believes that this appointment will provide stability to the company, the market and other key stakeholders and accelerate the execution of the company’s key initiatives to unlock value for shareholders,” the statement read. “The board welcomes Paul and looks forward to his contribution to the company.”