Cape Town - South African Airways (SAA) announced the appointment of Phumeza Nhantsi (39) as the national carrier’s new chief financial officer, effective from 1 May.
Nhantsi has been SAA’s Interim CFO since November 2015 after the position was left vacant following the departure of Wolf Meyer.
The appointment followed a rigorous recruitment and selection process before a recommendation was made to Treasury for approval, SAA said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Since the appointment of the full-strength board in September 2016, the focus has been on stabilising the business and one of the priorities was to ensure that key management vacancies are filled,” says Musa Zwane, SAA acting CEO.
“This is one such key appointment for the airline to ensure that SAA’s strategic objective of transforming the business into a financially sustainable aviation group is achieved.
Nhantsi was previously a director at SizweNtsalubaGobodo and is a chartered accountant, with extensive experience in the financial services and aviation arena, SAA said.
A new board – headed by the controversial Dudu Myeni – was appointed in 2016 September, after which another bailout of R5bn was approved.
Treasury - which overseas SAA - said that the primary focus of the board must be to return the airline to financial sustainability and appoint a new CFO and CEO.
Treasury revealed in its 2017 Budget Review that the board was finalising the recruitment process for a new CEO and CFO and was set to submit this process to government for approval in February.
The airline’s losses escalated to R4.5bn in 2016 and former Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said that the airline would require more financial assistance in 2017.
A week before Gordhan was recalled as minister, he wrote to speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete to say the process of appointing a new chief executive officer for SAA was expected to be finalised in a matter of days.
"[It] is anticipated that the process of appointing the chief executive officer (CEO) will be concluded by the end of March 2017," said Gordhan in the letter seeking permission to delay tabling SAA's corporate plan.