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