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SAA Looking For New CEO As Takatso Collapse

SAA Looking For New CEO As Takatso Collapse

South African Airways (SAA) has said it would appoint a permanent chief executive after its deal with Takatso Consortium as a strategic equity partner (SEP) collapsed last month.

In March, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said that the transaction, which was first announced in 2021, had fallen through after the government decided to re-evaluate its assets and businesses. The transaction included the sale of 51 percent of SAA shares at R51 and a R3 billion capital injection by Takatso as a shareholder loan.

In a statement on Monday, the airline said it had opened applications for permanent staff to ensure the stability of the airline after previously appointing an interim executive until the Takatso deal had been finalised.

Among the roles advertised are CEO, chief commercial officer, chief human capital officer, technical CEO, and chief executive of its catering service subsidiary, Airchefs.

Interim board chairperson Derek Hanekom said in the statement: “The interim executive management team has admirably rebuilt the airline as it emerged out of business rescue with the understanding that their posts would remain interim positions until a new controlling shareholder appoints its management team.

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All of them, including the interim CEO, Prof John Lamola, support the development as a necessary and natural step in strengthening SAA’s position in both local and international aviation markets.”

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Lamola was appointed interim CEO in May 2022, after the previous interim CEO, Thomas Kgokolo, left the airline a month prior. Kgokolo was appointed interim CEO after SAA exited a business rescue in April 2021.

The airline has recently opened multiple international routes to Brazil and Australia, including trips from Cape Town and Johannesburg to São Paulo and Johannesburg to Perth.

However, its financial performance was not strong after the National Treasury reported a R771 million loss in December last year.

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