Kenya Airways board chair Michael Joseph earned Ksh18 million in fees from the national carrier for the year ended December 2021. The figure is double the Ksh9 million he earned for the same role in 2020.
CEO Allan Kivuka also saw his earnings increase to Ksh54 million in 2021 up from Ksh41.5 million in 2020.
Several other board members saw their earnings increase significantly as well. The numbers feature in the firm’s most recent Directors’ Remuneration Report.
Kenya Airways saw its net losses for the year ended December 2021 slide 56.5% to Ksh15.8 billion, from a Ksh32.6 billion net loss in 2020. KQ last made a profit in 2013.
The uptick in 2021 was primarily attributed to increased demand as global travel restrictions were eased. While it was already struggling thanks to reported mismanagement and several flawed agreements signed in the past decade, Covid-19 hit KQ and the global aviation sector hard.
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The firm is surviving on taxpayer bailouts running into billions of shillings. In a recent interview, Joseph defended the bailouts citing KQ’s unique position as a strategic national asset.
“All these people talking about wasting taxpayers’ money on KQ either don’t understand that this is a strategic asset of the country or understand but say so because it is politically a good thing to say,” he argued.
The same logic has been employed by the National Treasury to justify the bailouts.
It was in the same interview that Joseph, famous for his time as Safaricom’s founding CEO, disclosed his wife’s desire for him to leave Kenya Airways fearing the stint will hurt his brand.
“It’s a tough business. My wife tells me all the time, just give up.”
“The risk in me being chairman of KQ is that Kenyans expect that I, Michael Joseph, can save and reproduce the financial success at Safaricom,” he stated.
Joseph, however, remains confident that KQ can return to profitability by 2025. He is keen on a push to form a Pan-African airline group and a deal has so far been struck with South African Airways in that regard.
At the moment, KQ is implementing a raft of restructuring cost-cutting and diversification measures as it looks to complete a turn-around.