SOLOMON POWER’s Chief Executive Officer, Donald John Kiriau, has died in Honiara after a long illness.
A former Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI), the late Kiriau took up the position on Friday 26th February 2021.
His appointment was announced by Solomon Power Board Chairman, David Quan, in a paid advertisement published by Solomon Star on Saturday 27th February 2021.
Mr. Kiriau was the first Solomon Islander to take up the post, twelve years after the last Solomon Islands’ national held the position. He took over after the former CEO, Pradip Verma, concluded his tenure.
“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 held 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.
One of the many challenges which Mr. Kiriau faced as the new CEO is realizing the nation’s first hydro scheme – the Tina Hydro Project on Guadalcanal – a project estimated to cost around USD80 million.
The other challenge was 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.
Shortly after taking up his appointment, Mr. Kiriau was taken ill and spent quite some time receiving treatment overseas but he never recovered. He returned to Honiara this year.
He died at the National Referral Hospital around 8pm on Thursday 27th April 2023.
His ‘Sending Home’ service was held at the St Barnabas Cathedral on Sunday afternoon. His body was due to be taken back to his home on Malaita where he would be buried.
Chairman Quan said at the time, Donald would ‘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,” he said.
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.
By Alfred Sasako