Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Picture: BUSINESS DAY

South African Airways (SAA), the embattled state-owned carrier, said it has made a number of new appointments as it implements a turnaround strategy.

Bob Head is acting as chief financial officer from this week while Hendus Venter takes on the role of chief information officer next month, having joined from African Bank, SAA said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. Pumla Luhabe joined as chief commercial officer in February, according to SAA.

Labour union Solidarity said earlier on Thursday that it would approach the High Court to have SAA placed under administration. The airline’s CEO Vuyani Jarana said in March the cash-strapped carrier will probably break even in 2020 after its net loss widened more than three-fold to R5.6bn in the 2017 financial year.

In a presentation to Parliament in March, SAA’s Johannes Magwaza said the airline was facing a critical shortage of business skills, which, if not addressed, could jeopardise the implementation of its long-term turnaround strategy. In the past, this resulted in strategies adopted by the board not being implemented.

The lack of critical skills ranged from financial and commercial to supply chain management. Said Magwaza: “In that scenario you are en route to disaster. That is the serious quagmire that SAA finds itself in at present.”

Bloomberg and Business Day

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