The Australian energy industry is shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Matt Zema, who led the establishment of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
He was appointed AEMO founding chief executive in October 2008, after previously being head of the Victorian Energy Networks Corporation for a decade.
It is understood Mr Zema, who was 56, suffered from a heart attack on Saturday at his Melbourne home. He is survived by his wife Teresa and son Demetrio.
Tributes for the widely respected energy leader started to flow early Sunday afternoon after AEMO issued a statement paying tribute to “not just our leader, but the heart and soul of this organisation”.
The Australian Energy Council (AEC) said Mr Zema was highly respected across the energy industry for his strategic insight, his deep understanding of highly technical issues, and his effective management of AEMO’s critical electricity and gas market functions.
“Matt was also a friend and a mentor to many of us. He was a fine person who will be very sadly missed,” AEC chief executive Matthew Warren said.
Energy Networks Australia (ENA) CEO John Bradley said Mr Zema was widely esteemed as a leader of the Australian and international energy sector, who had made an indelible mark on the development of Australia’s energy system.
“Our industry valued Matt Zema’s forthright engagement, his deep expertise and his many achievements as the CEO of the AEMO since its foundation,” Mr Bradley said.
ESDnews offers condolences to Mr Zema’s family and thanks for his contribution throughout 30 years to the energy sector.