Dudu Myeni finally leaves SAA. Board shake-up at struggling airline.

JOHANNESBURG — In many people’s eyes, Dudu Myeni overstayed her welcome at SAA. But various reports are now indicating that she’s finally left the airline. The damage Myeni has caused to SAA, since becoming chair in 2012, has been immense. The airline has stumbled from bailout to bailout in recent years as South African taxpayers have forked out billions to keep it going. But amid creditors becoming frustrated and demanding change, pressure has reportedly fallen on Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba‘s shoulders to lobby for her exit. – Gareth van Zyl

By Paul Vecchiatto and Loni Prinsloo

(Bloomberg) — South African Airways Chairman Dudu Myeni will leave the state-owned airline in a shake-up of the board before the arrival of the new chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Duduzile Myeni, chairwoman of South African Airways (SAA), speaks during a visit to the company’s offices by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg on May 6, 2016. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Myeni, who is friends with South African President Jacob Zuma and heads his charitable foundation, is the most prominent of a number of directors to be replaced by the National Treasury on Thursday, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the moves haven’t been announced. Deputy Chairman Tryphosa Ramano, also chief financial officer of cement maker PPC Ltd., is among those to be ousted, one of the people said.

“I do not respond to cabinet leaks,” Yunus Carrim, chairman of Parliament’s finance committee and an African National Congress lawmaker, said by text message.

Myeni has overseen the unprofitable airline as it struggled under a series of temporary leaders, and the finance ministry was forced last month to bail out the carrier to avoid it defaulting on a 3 billion rand ($221 million) loan. Vuyani Jarana will start as a permanent CEO on Nov. 1, and the former Vodacom Group Ltd. executive has pledged to reassure the airline’s lenders that the carrier can return to profit for the first time since 2011.

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Myeni had her contract extended for a year in September 2016, having served on the board in some capacity since 2009. Ramano was appointed last year as part of a previous management reshuffle.

Press statement from Treasury

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, is pleased to officially announce the appointment of six new members to the Board of South African Airways (SAA), as well as the full slate of non-executive board members at the airline, which have been approved by the Cabinet.

Joining the Board is Mr. Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza as the new Chairperson, and Ms. Nolitha Fakude as the Deputy Chairperson and non-executive director. New Board members who will serve as non-executive directors are: Mr. Geoff Rothschild, Mr. Ahmed Bassa, Ms. Tinyiko Mhlari, and Mr. Martin Kingston. Current non-executive directors who will continue to serve on the Board are: Ms. Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Mr. Peter Tshisevhe, Ms. Thandeka Nozipho Mogoduso, Mr. Peter Holmes Maluleka, and Mr. Akhter Hoosen Moosa.

Board members who will no longer serve are: Ms. Dudu Miyeni, Ms. Tryphosa Ramano, Mr. Mzimkulu Malunga, Mr. Siphile Buthelezi, Ms. Nazmeera Moola, and Ms Gugu Sepamla.

The changes will be with effective from 3 November 2017, when the Minister will have a special meeting with the new Board.

The new Board brings talent, expertise and energy to the airline, and they are all highly regarded individuals with a vast and in-depth knowledge of business in both the private and public sectors.

The Minister would like to thank all outgoing Board members for their work at the airline, wish incoming members well with their tenure at the airline.

Vuyani Jarana.
Incoming SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana

The Minister hopes that the new Board, together with the incoming Chief Executive Officer, Vuyani Jarana, will implement the airline’s structural strategy and bring it to financial stability, as set out in his 14 Confidence Boosting Measures. The new Board is well experienced and diverse, and the Minister encourages them

The new Board is well experienced and diverse, and the Minister encourages them to ignore the political noise, and focus on the business of strengthening SAA. At the heart of these appointments, is a commitment from the South African Government to strengthen the airline, and create conditions to see the transformation of all our state-owned companies.

All Board members, incoming and those who will no longer serve, have been notified of these developments.

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