Kenya Airways Appoints Jambojet Head As CEO
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jambojet Limited Mr Allan Kilavuka, has been named the new head of Kenya Airways starting next year by the Board of the national carrier.
In a statement, the Board said that the decision to appoint Mr Kilavuka, is because his experience appears to be the best fit to the role, after the current Kenya Airways CEO, Mr Sebastian Mickosz, announced his intention to end his three-year contract in May this year, citing personal reasons.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Allan to the Kenya Airways team starting January 1 2020, and we look forward to his contributions during this period of transition,” says the Chairman of the Kenya Airways board, Mr Michael Joseph.
But, the statement from Kenya Airways notes that despite the decision to currently accept Mr Kilavuka as the future CEO of the national carrier, in which the Kenyan government holds a 48.9 percent shareholding, the recruitment process ” is still actively ongoing and the Board will inform all stakeholders once a suitable candidate has been identified.”
Mr Mickosz, a native of Poland, had succeeded Mr Mbuvi Ngunze back in 2017, when the Board of Kenya Airways had seen his potential to revamp the financially ailing airline with fresh eyes based on his experience with LOT Polish Airlines.
According to The Citizen, Mr Mickosz’ reign at Kenya Airways was hampered by sidelining managers at the company with regard to how the company could be revived by instead focusing on the points of view of Polish advisers.
In an exclusive interview with a local daily held three months ago, Mr Mickosz said that what could change for KQ is the ” shareholding structure of the airline.”
Also, the cutting down of KQ’s wage bill could also change, as the salaries of pilots and cabin crew are rather expensive, yet their services do not meet the cut
Kenya Airways, often referred to as KQ, has had a chequered financial past.
In 2016, American-based accounting firm, Deloitte, prepared a report about the airline to explain why it had been in debt two years before and which had led to the loss of Kshs 25.7 billion by the 2015 fiscal period.
The Deloitte audit report summarized the performance of KQ as one which encompassed financial mismanagement “caused by fraud and theft in its key operations, such as accounting and ticketing.”
Neither is the decision of over 140 pilots to leave KQ within the last three years seen as helping the corporate image of the airline, with the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) urging for a strategy to revamp the national carrier before adopting the recommendation of nationalizing the airline.
KALPA has also accused KQ of favouring expartriate pilots in an attempt to hire 150 of such employee instead of locals who are just as qualified, so as to reduce the disadvantage of rescheduling of flights due to the shortage of pilots, as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) between the airline and union.
This is according to a court case that was filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court last month.
The Deloitte audit report consequently to the termination of two senior employees at KQ, who resorted to a court case in 2017.
The victims, Ex-Manager of Technical Materials and Services Procurement, Mr Henry Obonyo and former Senior Licensed Aircraft Engineer, Mr Alloice Lumutu, in their defense alleged that their constitutional rights had been infringed on, and that they should either be compensated by KQ or be re-instated.
The case is still pending.
Nationalizing is a strategy that the government is considering to adopt, in its attempt to keep KQ more competitive, as Kenya’s East African neighbours, Rwanda and Burundi, have also invested in their national carriers.
The soon-to-be CEO of KQ, Mr Kilavuka, holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting from the University of Nairobi (UoN).
Furthermore, according to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Kilavuka, has worked with multi-nationals, such as Deloitte and General Electric in various capacities over a two-decade period, before assuming his position as the CEO and Managing Director of low-cost airline, Jambojet Limited, in December 2018.
The chairman of the Board of KQ, was also this June given a three year term contract to help the financially struggling airline get back on its feet.