André de Ruyter is a Senior Fellow at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, with secondary appointments the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of the Environment.

Until February 2023, André 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 a wealth of experience both in South Africa and internationally in various portfolios in the energy business, including the management of coal, oil, chemical and gas businesses, the marketing of export coal to international utilities and managing operations of mega coal and gas conversion plants, including electricity generation and manufacturing. His experience and expertise traverses a range of disciplines, including but not limited to: strategic leadership, sales, manufacturing, production, finance, legal & regulation, people management and socio-economic development. 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.

Following an extended career in various parts of Sasol, a large South African chemicals and energy conglomerate, with among other assignments, experience in building a 865km natural gas pipeline between Mozambique and South Africa, as well as extensive intergovernmental relationship management, he was appointed to Sasol’s group executive committee from 2009 to 2014. Prior to this promotion, he lived and worked for a year in China as President of Sasol China Ventures, followed by a two-and-a-half-year stint leading a highly successful business turnaround and transformation of a multinational chemicals business in Germany. In 2014, he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Nampak, the largest packaging company in Africa, with operations in numerous sub-Saharan countries, including Angola, Nigeria and Ethiopia, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.  He left this position when he accepted the Group Chief Executive role at Eskom, beginning in January 2020. While at Nampak, he was Chairman of the Manufacturing Circle, and was lead author of a document containing policy proposals to reinvigorate manufacturing in South Africa.

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.

Q & A

We sat down with André de Ruyter in 2024 View