The state-owned energy giant's supervisory board elected Hando Sutter as its next CEO, replacing Sandor Liive at the end of November.
“There is no doubt that Eesti Energia has been a successful and well-managed company. The new strategy developed at the end of the last year and the owner’s expectations as communicated by the Ministry of Financial Affairs early this year require focused implementation. Hando Sutter proved to be the most supported candidate in the hunt for a new CEO organized by the Supervisory Board,” Erkki Raasuke, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, said in a press release on Thursday.
Liive did confirm ambitions to continue on the job, but a number of factors fell against him. The new cabinet swapped out supervisory board members, including those who backed Liive, and the coalition agreement stated that the company could be split up, angering many top brass at Eesti Energia.
During Liive's time, which began in 2005, the company has been in the spotlight for both the right and the wrong reasons. The company did fairly well out of the de-monopolization of the electricity market a few years ago, losing much of the market share, but continued to be profitable. Liive led many projects, including a shale oil project in Utah in the United States, which has received a lot of bad press and is yet to show any signs of success.
The Jordan oil shale power plant project is a more positive example, with the company this week signing an agreement with the government in Jordan to sell power to the country for the next 30 years. The construction of the plant is expected to begin next year.
Under Liive, the company focused on adding more value to oil shale, found in abundance in Estonia, and began producing shale oil. But as with the Utah project and the Jordan project, which the company had hoped to begin in 2012, the shale oil operation has hit turbulence and has not yet reached maximum capacity.
Sutter will inherit the projects, but will be under close scrutiny of the new, albeit interim, government.
Sutter has previously worked for the ESS/G4S Group and Olympic Entertainment Group, among others, and has for the past four years held the position of regional market manager for the Baltics and Russia at Nord Pool Spot, the largest regional electricity exchange.