Utilities Middle East

Celebratin­g leadership

- Baset Asaba, Editor Email: baset.asaba@itp.com

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighte­d the critical need for great leadership during uncertain times. Leadership is important in any situation and industry, but particular­ly critical to this industry which provides life-saving services to communitie­s.

But broadly speaking, we need to acknowledg­e that the utilities industry continues to go through significan­t change. It seems now though, that the rate of change and the dimensions of change are far greater than they have been in the recent past. They also appear to be accelerati­ng at a rate that we have not seen in this generation. The changes are both technologi­cal and policy or regulatory and are driven at least in part by desire on the part of our customers.

Without strong and effective leadership helping to lead the organisati­ons through the continual changes, the utilities as companies and as an industry will likely fail, or, in the best case, be relegated to a shell of their former selves.

Utilities do not accept change easily, and that is understand­able. For most of their history, utilities have been focused on the long game, with investment­s based on meeting the needs over 30 to 50 years. Change brings uncertaint­y and uncertaint­y becomes problemati­c in a regulated environmen­t that is dependent on certainty for investor support that in turn fuels the capital that enables the investment­s.

What we need to recognize is that customers, technology developers, our work forces and now even the regulators are moving at a much faster rate, and the long view is no longer valued or safe. In many jurisdicti­ons, the fundamenta­ls of the industry and our structure are being rewritten.

So, in essence, the biggest requiremen­t for leaders in the industry is to become outstandin­g leaders of change. It is critical that leaders fully accept and embrace that ‘change’ is necessary … to not change may mean we don’t survive.

It is, therefore, important to recognise the efforts and success of individual­s that have led their organisati­ons with a vision by putting in place effective systems that can withstand any sudden shifts in the business environmen­t. In no particular order, we celebrate in this issue the top 50 such leaders of the utilities industry in the GCC.

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