Two days after Arega Yirdaw submitted a letter of resignation as CEO of MIDROC Technology Groups, Ethiopian born Saudi Billionaire Al Amoudi is letting him go. Getachew Hagos will take over as interim CEO.
MIDROC Ethiopia, whose owner is Ethiopian born Saudi Billionaire Mohamed Al Amoudi, was experiencing challenges in terms of investment environment especially following the political reform measures since Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018.
The pressure was strong in the Oromo region of Ethiopia. MIDROC investment group has about 26 investments in the country and one of the lucrative businesses was gold mining. But its license was suspended, soon after Abiy Ahmed took over power, on alleged grounds of pollution. Political pressure from ethno-nationalist groups was a key factor- as was in the news sometime in 2018.
It seemed, however, as if there was no disagreement between MIDROC management and the owner, Mohammed Al-Amoudi who was released from Suadi prison sometime in January 2019.
The CEO’s, Arega Yirdaw, resignation letter to Al-Amoudi indicates that there had been back and forth conversation between the former and the latter.
In the letter dated April 25, 2020, the CEO expressed gratitude for the owner for providing him the opportunity “to serve his country” as CEO of MIDROC Investments.
He used to live in the United States some 22 years ago, and was approached by Al- Amoudi to return home and manage investments on his behalf, as noted in the letter. He has been serving as CEO for the past 20 years.
Arega Yirdaw then went on to outline what he described as challenges in managing the twenty-five investments under MIDROC. While pointing out that he overcame challenges in his managerial work without imposing himself like a boss, the ones he was facing in the last two years were strong and manifested themselves as “pressures,” – from different directions as he puts them. “
“Individuals who appointed themselves over MIDROC” whom he described as “disrespectful” towards the management and management team members proved to be difficult – even posed security challenges.
He specifically cited challenges concerning the Adola (Lege Demi) Gold Mine project and Elfora Agro business in the Beshilo area. In the case of the latter, unemployed youth in the region were claiming part of the land which was given to Al-Amoudi’s with an investment license. The management expressed that it can not give the land pointing out that it is the owner who is the right person to do that. Based on the CEO’s narrative, the situation put him in a difficult spot for he was seen as standing between land claimants and the owner – Al- Amoudi.
Arega wanted the owner to personally respond to the demand, which had also become a government position, which seems to be part of the reason for the rift between himself and Alamoudi.
Citing those and other challenges, Arega requested approval for this resignation as the CEO of 25 MIDROC investments. But he asked to remain the president of Unity University which he co-owns.
Al- Amoudi’s response
Al-Amoudi’s response to the resignation came on April 27. An alleged letter from him is circulating on social media.
“…You have served as CEO of MIDROC Group for a long time. However, at this time you are aging and I have understood that you need a rest. Moreover, we could not agree on some major issues and that you are scared to do your job…I have decided that you end your role as CEO of MIDROC companies except for your role as president of Unity University.”
Arega’s authority to manage bank accounts for these is to cease immediately.
Getachew Hagos is to take over from him as interim CEO of MIDROC, Al-Amoudi has decided.
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