Mainstream’s CEO Eddie O’Connor Resigns After Making Deplorable Comments About Africa

  • Eddie O’Connor has resigned as chairman of Mainstream Renewable Power It comes after comments he made last week, at the Dublin Climate Dialogues.
  • O’Conner said that Africa’s energy transition was being held back by a lack of education in “tribal societies.”

Mr O’Connor made the comments while speaking on a panel about the energy transition. He was asked by the moderator if major economies would lead the investment needed in clean energy in the next five years. In economies like Europe, the US, and China, he said there would be no problem with investment.

Mr O’Conner has apologised for the remarks, saying they were “were entirely inappropriate and insensitive. I made inaccurate and harmful generalisations about the continent of Africa that do not reflect reality, and instead serve only to perpetuate stereotypes,” he said in a statement.

But the damage is done. Thomas Garner, Chairperson of the South African Independent Power Producers’ Association, (SAIPPA) has taken note of the deplorable comments made by Dr. Eddie O’Connor, now former-Chairperson of Mainstream Renewables. “As an organisation, and as individuals within the organisation, we denounce this type of colonialist, paternalistic and arrogant behaviour and we welcome him stepping down from his position.” he said.

Other speakers at the Dublin Climate Dialogues event included United States Secretary of State John Kerry, former Irish President Mary Robinson, Climate Minister and Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan and the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Earlier this year Mr O’Conner and his management team sold 75% of Mainstream Renewable Power to Norwegian group Aker Horizons. Read more 

In a statement Aker Horizons said Mr O’Conner was resigning with immediate effect. Kristian Røkke has been appointed chairman of the board of Mainstream, succeeding Mr O’Connor, who is leaving the board.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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