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Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority shuffle no surprise

Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority shuffle no surprise

120629_07
Men viewed through the window of the trading room at the Cambodia Securities Exchange earlier this month. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Officials and securities firms yesterday showed little distress at the imminent retirement of Ek Sonn Chan, the man credited with straightening out and preparing the capital’s public water utility for its initial public offering in April.

A letter from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) obtained yesterday by the Post said the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority general director will leave his position on July 1 after a nearly 20-year tenure.

Sim Sitha, the director of Sihanouk Water Supply, will replace him.

One insider compared the changing of the guard at PPWSA to the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs.

“All changes here will slightly impact the price of the company. You know that when Steve Jobs passed away, it had some impact on the price of Apple. So I think it’s the same here. I would say the fundamentals of PPWSA are very good so the price will be going up and the investors will understand,” said Min Kyoung-hoon, deputy director general of the Cambodia Securities Exchange.

“It might have an impact [on PPWSA’s share price] or it might not.”

The MIME letter, signed by minister Suy Sem, painted the general director-designate as a highly trained, multilingual professional. It also said the move was necessary to ensure the success of the company.

Svay Hay, director of Acleda Brokerage Firms, said Ek Sonn Chan’s replacement was a matter of age, and would enhance PPWSA’s productivity.

“The change will not cause any crisis or problem. It’s regarding the old age of the general director. This does not only happen in government institutions, but also in private companies. They still set the age for retirement,” he said.

Ek Sonn Chan is in his early 60s. He will become an under secretary of state at the ministry, according to the letter.

The shuffle, which insiders said would be officially announced today, did not represent internal conflict within the company and the ministry, Tan Sokchea, an official at the ministry’s clean water department, said yesterday.

“It’s not relevant to any kind of corruption. Normally, when we come to the age of retirement, we should follow because now the government is really strict about that,” he said.

Tan Sokchea also recognised Ek Sonn Chan’s contribution to the company. “Frankly speaking, he possessed excellent leadership.”

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

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