K-Electric’s Turnaround; A Journey of Unwavering Perseverance and Optimism

Karachi:K-Electric’s turnaround from a loss making entity into a profitable one is a story of sustained optimism and unwavering determination that set a benchmark for state-run power entities in the country,” said Tabish Gauhar, Chairman KE and Partner and Country Head of The Abraaj Group while addressing the 9th CEO Summit Asia 2015 at a local hotel. Tabish Gauhar was invited as a guest of honor at this event.

The annually held CEO Summit Asia recognizes best performing entrepreneurs across the country within their respective fields. At the summit, book titled ‘100 Best CEO’s And Leaders of Pakistan’ was launched that incorporates names and profiles of influential personalities and leaders of Pakistan that should receive due recognition for their effective management and business practices. Many prominent corporate personalities were present at this esteemed event where Governor Punjab, Malik RafiqueRajwana graced this event.

The leadership of Tabish Gauhar has attained him a prominent place in the list of best performing CEO’s for his tremendous contributions in the revival of K-Electric, as a young, passionate and visionary entrepreneur of Pakistan.During his tenure as CEO of K-Electric for the period of Nov 2009 till Feb 2013, Mr. Gauhar displayed remarkable excellence across core business functions. The company’s turnaround was marked by efficient business operations, financial growth and a reputational advancement for the ailing power company.

Mr. Gauhar’s managerial distinction is marked by 60 percent load-shed exemption of the city of Karachi; promoting sustainability and responsible investment through a series of Corporate Social initiatives that impacted over 2.2 million underprivileged people per annum; laying the foundations of Pakistan’s first oil-to-coal conversion project which significantly reduced consumer tariff and formulating the country’s first comprehensive ‘Climate Change’ policy as a utility company. Considering his achievements in reviving the company, Governor Punjab, Malik RafiqueRajwana also presented a memento to Tabish Gauhar as a token of appreciation for his outstanding contributions in the energy sector.

Talking about the challenges with regards to KE’s turnaround, Mr. Gauhar explained that vision and conviction are key factors for any organization to achieve a topmost position. After joining KE, our vision was to restore and maintain pride in the power utility as well as restore the city of lights. Distinction requires stringent measures; in its initial years KE was faced various challenges that demanded resolute determination. The right-sizing of KESC from 17,439 employees to 10,401 and Voluntary Service Separation Scheme is one example of stringent measures management takes to address Human Resource issues. Moreover, in order to address operational challenges, the establishment of Integrated Business centers, conversion of open cycle to combined cycle plants, generation capacity enhancement, implementation of SCADA, SAP ISU and ERP across the company and the infamous Smart Grid Project are the rigorous methods KE management adapted that compliments the turnaround.

Over the past 6 years, we have turned a distressed organization to a more customer-oriented entity that has led us to change the perception of the masses towards the company into a caring company.  He further added that KE has become the only vertically integrated entity that manages generation, transmission and distribution of the electricity to the city. Since its privatization, over 1 billion dollars have been invested in enhancing the entity’s core functions, while increasing its generation capacity by 1,010MWs to reduce the demand-supply gap.

He also pointed out that there are many challenges that still need to be address which is to offer an affordable and largely indigenous fuel mix. With the foundation of 700 MW coal power plants, KE’s fuel a diversification strategy and marks a significant step towards a new era of a marked reduction tariff in Pakistan.

Mr. Gauhar further cited that KE’s turnaround has not only stirred the country but its success echoes at international levels. The Harvard Business School teaches a case study on K-Electric’s excellence and revival since it’s privatization under the course ‘Corporate Turnarounds’. Furthermore the company has received the honorable FT/IFC Transformational Business Award for its exceptional financial projects; becoming the only utility in the energy sector to have won international recognition of such a stature.


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