SAA has a new CEO

By Drum Digital
19 April 2013

SA Airways has appointed seasoned corporate leader Monwabisi Kalawe as its new CEO, the state-owned airline said on Friday.

"The board worked tirelessly to find a suitable leader who will lead by example and stabilise the internal environment while working towards ensuring good corporate governance within the airline," the board's acting chairwoman Dudu Myeni said.

"Kalawe will also lead SAA, as a strategic national asset, towards contributing to the socio-economic development of the country and the continent."

The appointment came after Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba challenged SAA's board to improve the airline's governance.

Kalawe began his career at Eskom, before joining Nestle SA for a few years, and then returning to Eskom for three years.

Kalawe also worked at the Airports Company SA for six years before leading Total Facilities Management Company as COO, and Denel as CEO.

After concluding his role as country MD of the Compass Group for five years, and more recently as executive chairman, Kalawe would join SAA in the next few weeks.

Myeni thanked Nico Bezuidenhout for acting as CEO over the past few months.

"We are also sincerely grateful for the incredible work that Mr Bezuidenhout has done towards the development and timely submission of the airline's first ever long-term turn-around strategy."

Last month, Gigaba removed suspended SAA CEO Vuyisile Kona from the airline's board. Gigaba said he considered it prudent and in the interests of SAA that there be stability and cohesion in its leadership.

The relationship between the board and Kona had deteriorated to a point where it would not be possible for him to lead or function optimally, either as a member or board chairman.

SAA put Kona on precautionary suspension in February. The board said the move was based on allegations which it had a fiduciary duty to investigate.

Mango CEO Bezuidenhout was then called to act as SAA chief executive. A number of SAA board members, including chairwoman Cheryl Carolus, unexpectedly quit last year before the annual general meeting in October, when their term was due to end.

-by Sapa

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