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Energex pauses CIO search

State-owned energy utility Energex has put its search for a chief information officer on hold, as it grapples with the Queensland government's sale of its retail assets. Energex initially advertised for a CIO back in July 2006, creating a new position reporting to the company's chief financial officer.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

State-owned energy utility Energex has put its search for a chief information officer on hold, as it grapples with the Queensland government's sale of its retail assets.

Energex initially advertised for a CIO back in July 2006, creating a new position reporting to the company's chief financial officer.

However, the Queensland government quickly forced Energex to change its recruitment plans, announcing last year that it would sell Energex's Sun Retail and Sun Gas Retail divisions to Origin Energy and AGL respectively. Those sale contracts are expected to close today.

An Energex spokesperson told ZDNet Australia via telephone today that the CIO recruitment process had been put on hold pending a review into the profile of the position.

"The position's not been filled, we've delayed the appointment of the position while we address those separation issues, with the electricity and gas retail market, and the finalisation of funding issues for the future," Energex spokesperson Graham Metcalfe said.

"The government made the announcement to sell off our retail component and our gas area, so this CIO would have been looking after some of those areas, and therefore the position has changed."

Metcalfe also acknowledged the current demand and competition for top-level IT executives. "That's certainly an issue for us as well," he said, noting Energex would be competing to attract the services of a "highly-qualified CIO".

Although Energex will for the time being move forward without an in-house executive focused on strategic IT, the company is not without other resources in the area.

The utility draws on the assets of SPARQ Solutions, a joint venture created by Energex and fellow Queensland energy specialist Ergon Energy to provide for their IT and telecommunications needs.

A number of other large Australian organisations are currently known to be recruiting top-level IT executives, with some of the most prestigious positions being offered by state governments. Fellow energy utility Transgrid is also looking for a chief information officer.

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