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
“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.
Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter @jamesstyan.