What could possibly possess a seasoned, widely respected businessman to take on the hardest job in SA — and with a substantial pay cut to boot? Arrogance, delusions of grandeur or sheer foolishness are possible motivators, you might argue. But when it comes to André de Ruyter, it may well be that it was a deep sense of national duty that landed him in the perilous post of Eskom CEO.

After a rigorous process, De Ruyter beat out 142 potential candidates, including eight Eskom employees, for the job. A number of top executives approached declined to be considered for the post. That’s not surprising if one considers that not one of the 10 Eskom CEOs over the past decade has exited the utility covered in glory. The general consensus is that it’s sure-fire career suicide...

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