CS all but con­firms Awori’s exit from KQ

Kalpa has moved a vote of no con­fi­dence in chair­man Den­nis Awori and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze who rose to the helm in 2014

The Star (Kenya) - - News - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

Trans­port Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary James Macharia has given the clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet of an im­mi­nent over­haul of top lead­er­ship at the strug­gling na­tional car­rier Kenya Air­ways. His re­marks are a com­plete de­par­ture from his ear­lier po­si­tion a week ago.

Macharia said chair­man Den­nis Awori, who took the reins of the board on Novem­ber last year, is on his way out.

“This week there is a prospect of hav­ing a new chair­man of the board. We can­not af­ford to have a vac­uum on the air­line,” Macharia said dur­ing the Anti-cor­rup­tion and Ac­count­abil­ity Sum­mit at State House yes­ter­day.

The Kenya Air­line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion has moved a vote of no con­fi­dence in Awori and chief ex­ec­u­tive Mbuvi Ngunze who rose to the helm of the car­rier on Novem­ber 1, 2014, hav­ing served as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer since Septem­ber 2011. The pi­lots union on Monday called off a planned strike that was to be­gin yes­ter­day, cit­ing on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with the govern­ment, and Fri­day’s court rul­ing that it was il­le­gal.

“In light of the fruit­ful dis­cus­sions held be­tween Kalpa’s ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil and the govern­ment of Kenya, and ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions within the Kalpa mem­ber­ship, we have taken the de­ci­sion to de­fer the strike ac­tion to ac­com­mo­date the on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions,” the union’s sec­re­tary gen­eral Paul Gichinga said. “It is im­por­tant to note that we are not with­draw­ing the strike no­tice but rather de­fer­ring it to a later date.”

For­mer Sa­fari­com chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Joseph, who was elected to the board dur­ing KQ’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Septem­ber 29, is tipped to be­come the new chair.

Macharia had on Thurs­day ac­cused the union of over­step­ping its man­date for de­mand­ing the ouster of Awori and Ngunze, for al­leged in­com­pe­tence.

He said 90 per cent of the board and se­nior man­age­ment mem­bers have been in the of­fice for be­tween four and 24 months. In a move he ap­pears to have made a U-turn, Macharia said pi­lots “un­der­stand that in a busi­ness as com­plex as KQ’s, hur­ried and emo­tion­ally-driven ac­tions can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive”.

“We are com­mit­ted to tak­ing ac­tion in­clud­ing hand­ing over the re­port for in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Macharia said. “No one can blame us for not tak­ing ac­tion. We have had a lot of changes on the board com­po­si­tion.”

He was re­fer­ring to a re­port by con­sult­ing firm Deloitte which im­pli­cates cur­rent and for­mer KQ of­fi­cials and third par­ties as hav­ing had a role in the air­line’s fi­nan­cial woes. Ngunze and his pre­de­ces­sor Ti­tus Naikuni have been men­tioned.

KQ an­nounced a Sh26.2 bil­lion after tax loss for the full year ended March 31.The man­age­ment on Thurs­day re­ported in an ad­vance fi­nan­cial re­sults that arrivals in­creased by 89,000 guests to 2.23 mil­lion in the six months to Septem­ber.

/ FILE

Kenya Air­ways chair­man Den­nis Awori with the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Mbuvi Ngunze at a past press brief­ing

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