SAA CEO steps down

Cape Town - Siza Mzimela, CEO of embattled national carrier South African Airways (SAA) has announced her resignation.

She sent an email to SAA employees on Monday morning, stating “this is not a random move”. 

“I have given this decision careful thought and feel that now is the best time to relinquish my position as your CEO and allow somebody else to pilot the company into the future.”

Mayihlome Tshwete, spokesperson for the minister of public enterprises, has confirmed that the department has knowledge of the email sent by Mzimela.

“At this stage we’re still trying to reach the chairman to determine if he has received her formal letter of resignation.”

SAA has been in the news the past month following the resignation of eight board members including the chairperson, Cheryl Carolus. The board has since been replaced.

Business Day reported on Monday that SAA made a loss of R1.25bn in the 2012 financial year. Mzimela does not mention this in her email.

Mzimela joined SAA in May 2010, after heading up South African Express Airways (SAX). In 2011 she became the first woman to be appointed to the International Air Transport Association’s board of directors in 67 years.

SAA has seen a mixed bag of results under Mzimela, showing two years of profit in 2010 and 2011. The airline has however been plagued with a weak balance sheet.

The two best candidates to take over the post of CEO from Mzimela are probably SAX chief executive Inathi Ntshanga and Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of SAA’s low-cost carrier Mango. Other names that may come under consideration include Alison Crookes, head of SAA’s affiliate Air Chefs, and Theunis Potgieter, SAA commercial head.

- Fin24

Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter @jamesstyan.

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