Government’s sloth in approving a candidate to be Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) has forced the utility company to turn to professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to re-advertise the vacancy.
“We had one person before but by the time we got a feedback from the government, the guy was already gone. You know these things—those people don’t stay around,” GPL Board Chairman Robert Badal said, when asked by Stabroek News for an update on filling the vacancy.
GPL has been without a substantive CEO since last year February, when then CEO Colin Welch was fired, following the installation of a new board.
Welch had been hired by GPL in October, 2013, under the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration for the Deputy Chief Executive Officer position. He was subsequently elevated to the position of acting CEO when the then CEO Bharat Dindyal was severed.
According to the findings of an audit done of the company between the period November, 2011 and May, 2015, by Nigel Hinds Financial Services, the management of GPL knew six months after it hired Welch that he had deceived the company about his qualifications. Welch denied this. He has also disputed the findings of the audit and said that he never even spoke to Hinds. He wrote a detailed letter to the editor of this newspaper on February 24 of this year to “set the record straight.”
Badal explained that since Welch’s sacking, the company had advertised the vacancy and had even gone through shortlisting and provided government with a recommendation of a potential candidate. But while government gave the go ahead to hire the individual, it was too late as the person was no longer interested in the position.
He said that around two weeks ago, the company solicited the services of PwC to take over the advertisement and selection process.
“We are disappointed as well that we could not fill that position. We have filled all the executive positions so far. After the elections [in 2015], we had so many positions and we have filled all those positions, locally. But the CEO position—we have not been able to attract the right candidate so far,” he stated.
“We have put it back out to the market, using [PwC], which has international reach and clientele. We put it back for them to assist us using their international reach and expertise in that area,” he added.
As a result, the company’s current acting CEO will have to continue in the post possibly until August. By this time, Badal expects that PwC will have been able to select a potential CEO, which the company would then ask Cabinet to approve.
“The CEO has a process—we recommend the CEO and the government, Cabinet, has to approve it,” Badal explained, while expressing his anxiousness in getting the position filled.
“I figure we will give them a month and a half. Oh God, I want to do it by the end of August, to have a CEO in position. It will happen, I believe by the end of August. That is my target,” he added.