Electricity utility boss resigns
Publish Date: May 20, 2009
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THE managing director of the electricity distribution company, Umeme, has resigned under unclear circumstances, reports Fortunate Ahimbisibwe.

Paul Mare who had headed the company for 10 years resigned following misunderstandings within the power distribution company’s top management, sources said yesterday.

Charles Chapman, the chief operating officer, is now the new managing director. He was recruited in February this year.

Chapman formerly worked as Head of ESB Customer Supply, the Irish Electricity Utility and prior to that worked for Inchcape P.L.C. in a number of senior roles based in the Middle East, Greece and the UK.

In a brief statement, the board of directors expressed appreciation for Mare’s achievements, “following his decision to step down and join his family in South Africa”.

According to the statement, Umeme management thanked Mare for his service to the Ugandan economy. It said Mare transformed the electricity industry from “an integrated utility with 140,000 customers, to the current privatised structure with over 300,000 customers”.

Sources said Mare’s contract was expiring at the end of next year, but he was forced to cut his contract short by more than 10 months.

Spokesman Edward Twine said the resignation would not be discussed in the press.

Asked if Mare was forced to resign, Twine said: “I cannot comment on that. All I can say is that the board has appointed a new managing director.”

However, other sources said Mare had developed irreconcilable differences with other top managers on strategic matters relating to the financial direction of the company. The board consequently asked him to resign, the source said.

Mare also clashed with a racket of high profile individuals involved in illegal power installations in Kampala’s suburbs of Bwaise and Park Yard Market, near Owino Market, Uganda’s largest, according to the sources.
Umeme is currently undergoing an audit to establish why the prices of electricity cannot be reduced.

In a confidential e-mail to senior management, director David Grills said the board had accepted Mare’s resignation.

Umeme was formed in 2004 when the Government sold the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company to a consortium belonging to Globeleq, a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, UK and Eskom, South Africa.

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