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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) Board has appointed a new CEO and Managing Director.

Daniel Westerman has been appointed to the position, commencing 17 May 2021.

Mr Westerman joins AEMO from National Grid, a leading London-listed international electricity and gas utility, where he has held a variety of senior executive roles since 2014, and currently serves as Chief Transformation Officer and President of Renewable Energy.

Mr Westerman is a chartered engineer and an experienced business leader with significant breadth in the energy sector.

At National Grid, Mr Westerman has been responsible for engineering, planning and operational control of the electricity transmission network across Great Britain, as well as the development of distributed energy systems such as rooftop solar, storage and energy metering. 

Most recently, Mr Westerman has grown a large-scale renewable energy business and led transformation and change programs across multiple business units and geographies.

Mr Westerman also brings significant commercial and regulatory experience in both the UK and several US electricity markets.

AEMO Chairman, Drew Clarke, said the board was pleased the CEO search process attracted strong interest from high-calibre energy leaders both within Australia and globally.

“Daniel was selected from a strong field of leaders in the energy sector, and the board is confident his experience positions him well to lead AEMO through the next phase of transition in the energy sector,” Mr Clarke said.

“Experience in a commercial setting was highly valued in AEMO’s search, and the board was pleased to secure a candidate with experience leading major infrastructure projects through the investment cycle.” 

Mr Westerman said he was delighted to return to Australia and lead AEMO at a time when electricity and gas systems nationally and globally are undergoing rapid transition.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with market participants, policy makers and stakeholders across the energy industry to help inform and shape the best outcomes for consumers as the technology mix undergoes a dramatic transformation,” Mr Westerman said.

“Australia is leading the world in the adoption of renewable energy systems, and AEMO plays a critical role in maintaining a stable supply of power to the millions of homes and businesses that benefit from the energy these systems provide.

“As our economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, the gas markets operated by AEMO will continue to play an important role in both the export and domestic energy sectors.

“AEMO must continue to operate our energy systems today while planning for the challenges of tomorrow, and that will be my focus.”

Mr Clarke also thanked AEMO’s acting CEO, Nino Ficca, for his stewardship of the organisation since the departure of former CEO, Audrey Zibelman, in December 2020.

“Under Nino’s guidance, the important work of AEMO will continue smoothly across the summer and autumn, and the board looks forward to Nino returning to his role of non-executive director upon Daniel’s commencement,” Mr Clarke said.

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