In memory of our founding CEO - Matt Zema
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- In memory of our founding CEO - Matt Zema
On 23 July 2016, AEMO’s inaugural Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Matt Zema tragically passed away during his eighth year of leadership. Matt was not only the MD and CEO of AEMO, but the heart and soul of the organisation, and his legacy will always be remembered.
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 all those who knew him will remember Matt as an exceptional and visionary leader.
From 1999 – 2008, Matt was Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Energy Networks Corporation (VENCorp) which was responsible for operating the principal transmission system for gas in Victoria and for the planning, procurement and augmentation of the Victorian electricity transmission network. Matt successfully led VENCorp through a number of complex emergency events such as the gas supply disruption from the Longford incident in September 1999, and electricity supply issues in January 2007 due to severe bushfires, and April 2008 due to damaging storms.
Prior to this, Matt worked in general management roles with PowerNet Victoria, GPU PowerNet and GPU International, extending himself beyond the strong engineering foundation he had built at the State Electricity Commission of Victoria from 1983. He progressed quickly, developing senior skills in finance, legal and regulatory management, IT, and of course people leadership and development.
Matt was appointed inaugural MD and CEO of AEMO in 2009, leading the transformation of the newly established entity, and building its reputation as a trusted, respected, independent resource for a broad range of stakeholders.
Matt was proud to be appointed by the Federal Government to the independent expert panel review of the Renewable Energy Target in 2014.
In November 2015, Matt was recognised for his expertise in energy market design and operations, and power systems planning and management, and was appointed Vice President of GO15, a voluntary initiative of the world's largest power grid operators, representing more than 70 per cent of the world's electricity demand.
Also in late 2015, Mr Zema oversaw the transition of the Wholesale Electricity Market and South West Interconnected System in Western Australia to AEMO.
Matt will forever be remembered as a strong, intelligent and passionate leader at AEMO, and is sorely missed by all those who knew him.
“Matt’s vision and determination resulted in significant developments in the gas market: the Wallumbilla and Moomba gas hubs. There is no doubt these major developments would not have happened for many more years, if at all, without his determination,” Tom Parry was foundation chairman of AEMO from 2008 until 2015.
“Matt earned widespread respect from both government and industry, with his expertise and long and distinguished career in energy,” Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg.
“Australia has lost a good, decent and exceptional man. His vast knowledge and expertise in the operation of the NEM will be very difficult to replace, but such was the professionalism of the man, he built an organisation that will no doubt cope with such a traumatic and sudden loss,” South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.
“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,” Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
“Matt’s intelligence, drive, commitment and dedication through his long contribution to the energy sector have helped shape the market and delivered real benefits to the Australian community,” statement on behalf of the Australian Energy Regulator.
“He was at the helm of the market operator’s establishment in 2009, achieving the remarkable integration of six separate founding entities from states and territories - winning widespread respect in the process,” Australian Energy Market Commission Chairman John Pierce.