Electricity

Serbia’s EPS appoints seven-member supervisory board including three Norwegian experts

EPS supervisory board Norwegian

Photo: Emilija Jovanović

Published

June 8, 2023

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Published:

June 8, 2023

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Serbia’s state-owned coal and electricity producer Elektroprivreda Srbije – EPS selected a new supervisory board. Its members will be experts from Norway Oluf Ulseth, Per Sanderud and Hilde Bakken, and three from Serbia –  Vladan Živanović, Dejan Ostojić and Igor Petković, while Miodrag Ranković represents the utility’s workers. It is a new step in transforming EPS after changing its status from a public enterprise into a joint stock company and introducing a new statute, the Ministry of Mining and Energy said.

Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović, who represents the government of Serbia in the shareholder assembly, introduced the new members of the Supervisory Board of EPS. Appointing top professionals from Serbia and the world opens a new era for the company, which has all the conditions to be strong, modern and successful and a regional leader, in her view.

“That’s not possible if we continue working like things were done over the last 30 years, so our goal wasn’t just to reform on paper, but make a change that will be evident in greater responsibility, in depoliticization and results, which are a norm in the entire modern world. As the Government of Serbia repeated several times, the state is remaining the owner of EPS and it will be the one defining what it wants from the company, but also from this supervisory board, which will be responsible for the implementation of a part of our energy strategy,” Đedović said.

Executive search firm Boyden participated in assembling the Supervisory Board of EPS

The minister revealed that global executive search firm Boyden helped select the members of the supervisory board. She added that Serbia made a strategic decision to cooperate with Norway, so that three of them are from the Nordic country’s state-owned energy systems with professional management.

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Đedović said she expects the decision to appoint the group of executives to be adopted in a few days.

Next step is to search for permanent CEO

A public call for the appointment of a director is expected soon, the minister said and revealed that the leadership and management skills of 60 managers in EPS are currently under review. Đedović said Serbia is obligated under an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to keep developing the company’s strategy and transform it.

Consultants from Norway have paved the way for the new supervisory board with their strategic analysis of the entire energy sector and by focusing on financial reporting and risk management, according to the minister.

Compensation is not only motive

The point of switching EPS into a joint stock company was to abolish the salary ceilings and hiring limitations, to make the company competitive, Đedović said. The compensation for the members of the supervisory board hasn’t been determined yet, she asserted and stressed that their biographies show professional challenge was also a motive for them to join.

The remuneration will be aligned with market conditions with regard to big companies, Đedović claimed.

The government clearly expressed an ambition to change how EPS is run so that it improves results, cuts emissions and increases its role in the renewables sector, said Oluf Ulseth, a former state secretary in the prime minister’s office in Norway and two ministries. The most important immediate task for the supervisory board is to select the utility’s permanent director, he underscored and expressed hope that there would be both external and internal candidates.

eps-supervisory board-oluf-ulseth

Ulseth also held senior roles in Eurelectric and several companies including Statkraft and Storebrand. He was the chief executive of Energi Norge, the country’s energy sector association, from 2011 to 2018.

Živanović: I profoundly believe in a successful outcome

Vladan Živanović, who used to lead the offices of Euronet and Microsoft in Belgrade, said the transformation project is the biggest and most complex that he ever faces. “Having in mind all the human and company’s potentials, I have no doubt that hard work is ahead of us, but I also profoundly believe in a successful outcome,” he stated.

eps-supervisory board-vladan-zivanovic

Per Sanderud had high-ranking positions in several ministries in Norway for almost 30 years. Until recently he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The new supervisory board member was also president of the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority.

Dejan Ostojić was a senior energy specialist in the World Bank in Washington for most of his career. Hilde Bakken was an executive vice president in Statkraft for several years. Igor Petković was an executive in UniCredit Bank and the head of Serbian companies Fruvita and Rafinerija nafte Beograd.

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