NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph has taken over as the new Kenya Airways Board Chairman after the resignation of Ambassador Dennis Awori who has resigned with immediate effect.
Joseph takes over the position a few weeks after being appointed into the KQ board as a director.
“Ambassador Dennis Awori has today resigned as Chairman of the Board of Kenya Airways and as Director of the company,” Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said on Wednesday.
“Ambassador Awori has been replaced by Michael Joseph who has extensive international experience and is best known as the founding CEO of Safaricom, which he took from a subscriber base of 1800 to 17 million in a period of just 10 years.”
Awori has been in the position close to a year after being appointed in November 2015.
“We are pleased to announce that at its meeting held on 26th October 2016, Michael Joseph was elected Chairman of the Board of Kenya Airways Limited with effect from 26th October 2016 to replace Am Dennis Awori who resigned with effect from 26, October 2016 to pursue other interests,” KQ CEO Mbuvi Ngunze said later in a statement.
His exit comes at a time when the airline under pressure both from the shareholders and members of the public to assure the effectiveness of its turnaround plan after loses of close to Sh50billion within two financial years.
Early this month the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) threatened to strike if Awori and the CEO Mbuvi Ngunze did not exit but later called it off on October 17 after a deal with management.
Without commenting on much details about the negotiations, KALPA Secretary General Paul Gichinga said they association has deferred the strike as they await the management to abide by the assurances made during the week-long negotiations.
The pilots had pushed for changes at the helm after expressing the lack of faith to revive KQ by the current management.
On Thursday, the airline is expected to release its half year results for 2016/2017 after earlier hinting of great improvement.
“Our half-year results to be released at the end of this month reflect an increase of 89,000 guests to 2.23 million compared to the same period last year, an improvement in cabin factor by 3 per cent to 71 per cent, an operating profit improvement of Sh2 billion and a reduction in net losses of Sh7 billion, from Sh12 billion to Sh5 billion,” the management said.