As it steps up its hunt for outgoing Chief Executive Sebastian Mikosz successor, the Kenya Airways board has made the most logical decision, to appoint an insider to fill his former boss’s shoes in acting capacity until a suitable replacement is found.
Mikosz leaves the national carrier after announcing his decision to leave the loss-making entity at the end of December this year before completing his three-year contract.
“The board of Kenya Airways PLC wishes to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Allan Kilavuka who is currently the CEO of Kenya Airways subsidiary Jambojet Limited, has been appointed to take on the role of acting CEO until a substantive CEO for Kenya Airways is recruited and appointed,” said Kenya Airways board Chairman Michael Joseph in a statement.
Kilavuka will also be expected to continue with his duties as the chief executive of Jambo Jet, the budget carrier under the Kenya Airways stable.
In-line to take over the national carrier deep in the negative territory to the tune of Ksh7.5 billion is Kilavuka, a man who believes that a good chief executive must deliver value to shareholders.
Speaking during an interview with a local publication in June 2019, Kilavuka said that one of his major motivations as a corporate leader is to deliver value to shareholders but he has been asked to lead an entity that was not so long ago asking the government to take off the shareholders responsibility from its back if the company is to return to profitability as desired.
“The focus is to keep the company secure, be efficient, be profitable, return a reasonable profit with shareholders but then again we need to look at how do we look at different products, diversify and de-risk the business and looking for opportunities to expand and grow,” Kilavuka said when asked about Jambojet’s milestones.
Before announcing his decision to leave KQ, Mikosz had been pushing the Kenyan government to either nationalize the airline or relieve the airline’s management from the shareholders burden amid overwhelming competition from state-backed airlines operating in the region.
“We must be given a different mandate,” said Mikosz.
MPs have already recommended that the troubled airline be nationalized but not much has been done to act on the legislators recommendations.
Kilavuka, on the other hand, has been thrown at the deep end asked to do the job that became too difficult for Mikosz to do.
Whereas he has been successful in steering Jambojet to the right direction, Kenya Airways will be a totally different proposition for the man who has seen the budget carrier grow from operating one plane to five.
Meanwhile, he has to juggle two demanding jobs while worrying whether he can lift one of them from a Ksh7.5 billion hole.