A CENTRAL banker of more than 14 years’ experience is the new Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA), the nation’s second-oldest State-Owned Enterprise.
Donald John Kiriau’s appointment was announced by the Board Chairman of SIEA, trading as Solomon Power, David Quan, in a paid advertisement published on Friday.
His appointment was effective as of yesterday.
Mr. Kiriau is the first Solomon Islander to take up the post, twelve years after the last Solomon Islands’ national held the position.
“Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Solomon Power, Mr. Donald John Kiriau was the Chief Manager for the Economics, Research and Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, and had been a central banker for over 14 years,” the statement announcing the appointment said.
“He brings with him a wealth of leadership and strategic management skills and is a big advocator in empowerment,” the statement said.
Mr. Kiriau holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Sydney, Australia, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii, United States of America.
“Donald will lead Solomon Power through one of its most challenging and yet very exciting phases of growth and development, supported by a qualified, experienced, committed, and talented team.
“We look forward to the continued support of all stakeholders, donors, and all our valued customers in supporting Donald in his new role as CEO for Solomon Power.
“The Board of Directors look forward to working very closely with Donald to bring Solomon Power up to the next level, providing reliable and affordable power supply to all Solomon Islanders, in line with Solomon Islands Government’s National Development Strategy,” the statement said.
The Board also thanked the former CEO, Pradip Verma for “his excellent service, dedication and commitment during his tenure and wish him well in his new endeavours.”
One of the many challenges which the new CEO faces are realizing the nation’s first hydro scheme – the Tina Hydro Project on Guadalcanal – a project estimated to cost around USD80 million.
The other challenge is the need to bring down electricity price which many consumers consistently argue is the most expensive in the Pacific region – a charge Solomon Power has always resisted.
Established in 1969, SIEA is one of only two SOES that have been successful – the other being the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA), the nation’s oldest SOE.
In the last 12 years, the position of CEO was held by expatriates – the last being an Australian of Indian descent.
Mr. Kiriau is the first national to occupy the position since an indigenous Solomon Islands national last held the job 12 years ago.
By ALFRED SASAKO