Thursday, 4 May 2017

KENYA: Polish National, Sebastian Mikosz Appointed Kenya Airways CEO

Kenya Airways (KQ) has appointed Sebastian Mikosz, a Polish national, as its group managing director to replace Mbuvi Ngunze who resigned last year a midst a labour crisis.

Mr Mikosz is will assume office on June 1, 2017.

In a statement announcing the appointment on Thursday, KQ chairman Michael Joseph said the new CEO is expected to lead the turnaround plan of the troubled airline.

Mr Ngunze is also expected to stay on as an advisor until the end of July, until when the carrier’s capital optimisation campaign is completed.

The incoming chief executive has been a player in the Polish aviation sector, having led Lot Polish airline for several years until he quit in mid-2015.

Mikosz, who previously served as Polish Airlines CEO, has more than 20 years experience in executive management in both public and private sector.

"He was the CEO of esKy.pl, a leading central European online travel agency and LOT Polish Airlines,"Joseph said.

He congratulated the new appointee and promised the crew's support.

"We wish him every success as he assumes his new responsibility. We have no doubt that with support we will strive to greater heights."

Mikosz's appointment ends months of the global search for the airline's CEO in a recruitment process by international firm Spencer Stuart.

Ngunze headed the troubled airline for the past two years and was due for retirement in March.

The outgoing CEO resigned in November last year amid pressure for him to leave.

The calls intensified after the airline encountered hitches that forced the delay of flights. The union accused Ngunze and his team of being unable to get the airline out of its financial woes.

Management changes saw former chairman Dennis Awori resign prior to the airline's half-year performance update and Joseph appointed to replace him late in October.

On April 28, Ngunze said he was asked to delay his exit to help implement KQ's recovery strategy amid the search for his replacement. They worked on the capital optimisation programme.

KQ is working closely with US investment bank PJT Partners which has been keen on helping it raise new debt and equity funds.