Kenya Airways board rules out sacking of CEO Mbuvi Ngunze


Kenya Airways board rules out sacking of CEO Mbuvi Ngunze
Kenya Airways chief executive officer Mbuvi Ngunze address investors during the release of their full year earnings results in the capital Nairobi, July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Mbuvi Ngunze will stay in office for the foreseeable future, after the airline’s board ruled out his sacking.

Kenya Airways chairman Michael Joseph said at a briefing in Friday that it would be unwise for the airline to lose Mr Ngunze at a time restructuring plans were in full gear.

The remarks come amid clamor from various quarters including the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) that had called for the removal of the CEO.

The chairman said the immediate focus would be to ensure the airline is able to reach full stability

“No CEO is perfect. To do such a thing at this critical time would be the wrong thing to do. Not to say that he’s going to be CEO forever but we have to get through this critical financial renegotiation on time before we do anything,” Mr Joseph stressed.

According to the chairman, a dangerous precedent was being set with continued calls to remove the Mr Ngunze from office.

“There has been lots of discussions on who should be CEO or the chairman of the board and we need to be very careful with this,” he said.

For now attention will shift to strengthening the airline’s management team with the hiring of new Finance and Human Resource directors.

Kenya Airways is yet to replace Alex Mbugua, the long serving Chief Financial Officer, since his removal from office in January.

Dick Murianki has been serving as the CFO in an acting capacity. Prior to his elevation he was the general manager of Kenya Airways Cargo.

Kenya Airways also let go of its Human Resource Director Alban Mwenda back in April, as part of a deal reached between the airline and the pilot’s union.

The pilots had gone on a day long strike clamoring for management changes at the airline.

Kenya Airways has been implanting a recovery plan dubbed Operation pride which saw the airline cut its half year loss to Sh5 billion.

KALPA on Thursday withdrew its strike notice citing confidence in the recovery plan.

Sources indicate that the pilots held a closed door meeting with government officials and Mr Joseph with assurances given that Mr Ngunze was the right man at the helm.

The airline targets to be back to profitability by 2018.

Additional Reporting by Patrick Igunza

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