The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has announced the sudden passing of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Matt Zema on 23 July 2016.

AEMO Chair Dr Tony Marxsen said, “On behalf of all AEMO, we extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences, and strongest support to Matt’s wife Teresa, their son Demetrio, and the Zema family and friends at this difficult time.”

Mr Zema was appointed founding Chief Executive Officer of AEMO – the national, independent energy sector organisation responsible for operating wholesale and retail electricity and gas markets across Australia – in October 2008.

“Matt has been not just our leader, but the heart and soul of this organisation for eight years. This is a great loss for not only our people and our organisation, but for the Australian and international energy communities,” said Dr Marxsen.

“Matt’s accomplishments throughout his 30 years in the energy industry are many and long-lasting. His incredible contribution to the energy industry and our stakeholders is unparalleled and we will remember him as an exceptional and talented leader.”

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) which represents Australia’s gas and electricity networks said Mr Zema was widely esteemed as a leader of the Australian and international energy sector, who had made an indelible mark on the development of Australia’s energy system.

ENA Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said, “Our industry valued Matt Zema’s forthright engagement, his deep expertise and his many achievements as the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator since its foundation.”

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg also offered his condolences to Mr Zema’s family and loved one.

“Matt earned widespread respect from both government and industry, with his expertise and long and distinguished career in energy,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio said, “He will be remembered for his strategic leadership across the energy sector, providing robust and invaluable advice to the Victorian Government on matters including energy security, planning and emergency management.

“Through this role, Matt led the establishment of a market institution with leading expertise in the energy market, system operation and planning.”

Dr Marxsen said Mr Zema’s deep knowledge, passion and commitment to the energy sector and the wider Australian community will be remembered and AEMO will continue to build on his legacy.

AEMO Executive General Manager Stakeholders and Information Karen Olesnicky has been appointed acting Chief Executive Officer and has the full support of the AEMO Board and Executive Leadership Team.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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