The Chairman of REE (Red Eléctrica España) Jordi Sevilla will submit his resignation as the company’s executive leader for “personal reasons”, as the company confirmed in a statement issued to the CNMV (National Stock Market Commission).
Sevilla is set to officially communicate his decision to the company’s board of directors on Tuesday, Jan 28, at the Board’s 10:30 meeting.
The Board could decide who will be Sevilla’s replacement on that same day, in a vote that is directly conditioned by the Executive.
“The meeting of Red Electrica’s board of directors is scheduled to take place today, with a single item on the agenda regarding D. Jordi Sevilla’s resignation as CEO and, subsequently, as chairman of the board of directors,” the company indicated.
REE manages Spain’s high voltage infrastructure. The company is controlled by the State through the State Society for Industrial Participations (SEPI).
From politics to the industry
This is the first resignation from a high-ranking official in a state-owned or partly owned company since the new coalition government presided by Pedro Sanchez took office.
The head of the REE was appointed in the summer of 2018, following the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy. Jordi Sevilla was previously one of the most notable leaders in the government of Jose Luis Zapatero, where he worked as Minister of Land Management.
Furthermore, he was participated in the preparation of an economic program for PSOE for the 2015-2016 elections.
Differences with the Executive
The reasons behind this decision have not been disclosed. However, some speculate that Sevilla does not agree with some of the government’s energy policies. Especially with the plans outlined by Vice President and Minister for Ecological Transition & Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera.
Throughout the past months, Sevilla has announced some decisions that were not always in line with Ribera’s department. The REE’s new strategic plan includes increasing investments by 40% to €7 billion up to 2026; which entails a rise of the electricity bill in order to afford these plans.
The resignation comes during the development of the National Energy and Climate Plan, a program that establishes significant renewable goals up to 2050.
Another touchy subject was the CNMV’s move to cut electricity transportation tolls for the next six years. The initial 20% reduction was eventually lowered to 10%. In any case, it stands as an obstacle for the company’s plans.
In this regard, Jordi Sevilla warned in June that “cutting the budget for investment and maintenance of an essential public service is not the right path. It was not in health, nor in education, and it will not be in the Spanish electricity service.”
Jordi Sevilla’s management of REE
During his 19 months as the lead of Red Eléctrica, Jordi Sevilla completed the acquisition of a 89.68% share in satellite operator Hispasat, until then owned by Abertis, for €933 million. The purchase was completed after obtaining the necessary permits and authorizations, both from the Spanish state and other countries where the company operates.
Moreover, he also presented a strategic plan to adapt the nation’s electricity system to new renewable power plants in the medium term.
For more information, check Energía16