The Chief executive officer to the embattled Kenya Airways has announced that he would quit his job in the first quarter of next year, without stating the exact time he would do so.
Mr Mbuvi Ngunze , who has served the troubled airline for five years and two years as CEO and group managing director said that it was natural in the company’s evolution to pass on the baton.
“While I regret this decision, I respect his position. Mbuvi will stay on until a successor is found which is expected to take some months,” Mr Michael Joseph, Kenya Airways board chairman said on Thursday in a statement.
Mr Micheal said he would lead the selection of the next CEO together with the Board Governance and Nominations Committee in what he termed as a “thoughtful process which will focus on producing the right outcomes to lead KQ into its next chapter.”
He added: “I hope to complete this process within the next 3 months and I have already started the process to search for and identify the right candidate with the relevant airline experience.”
Mr Ngunze, who earlier worked as the Chief Commercial Officer, will not immediately leave the airline, although there are suggestions that he’s stepping down due to pressure from trade unions.
“During this period, the Board Chairman and the Group MD and CEO will work with the rest of the KQ senior leadership team to ensure continuity during the transition.
Hence, this should not negatively impact our collaboration with our business partners, financiers and other stakeholders,” Mr Micheal noted.
The Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (Kapla) had earlier called for resignations of top bosses at the airline, including former Chairman Denis Awori and Mr Ngunze.
Mr Awori resigned after 11 months in what was seen as a move by treasury and the largest shareholders KLM, to appease KQ’s employees.
The past months had seen pilots go on strike and were threatening to organise another one if the top leadership at the airline was not changed.
Kenya airways released its half-year results last month, announcing a Kshs4.8 billion loss.
However, the airline board chairman delinked Mr Ngunze from the challenges facing the airline saying: “Although I have to date only worked with him for a short while; it has indeed been my privilege to work with Mbuvi so far. I know that over the last 2 years as Group MD and CEO, the Board has seen the dedication and selfless approach to work that he has had.”
He added that Ngunze has led KQ during an extremely challenging period, but nonetheless brought his unique leadership skills to bear, ensuring that the airline stayed afloat.