Shareholders of national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) have given Michael Joseph their the nod of approval with the former Safaricom chief executive immediately saying that the national carrier will get back to profitability after years of being looted.
During an annual general meeting on June 10 at Pride Centre, Nairobi, Joseph’s term as the chair of the KQ board was extended for another term after shareholders approved his re-election.
Michael Joseph will thus continue to serve as the KQ Chair for a further three years, until 2022.
“I want to thank shareholders for showing confidence in me. We are working towards efficient network planning and closure of non-profitable routes,” said Joseph soon after his re-election.
Serving as KQ Chair since October 2016, the former Safaricom chief executive has overseen the narrowing of losses by the national carrier.
In 2015, KQ reported losses of around Ksh25 billion. By December 2018, the firm had narrowed to Ksh7.5 billion in the red.
Joseph also oversaw the appointment of Sebastian Mikosz as CEO of the airline.
The Pole, who has been accused of milking the national carrier dry, has also been instrumental in reducing losses at the national carrier.
Mikosz has however tendered his resignation from the firm, with him set to leave the airline before the end of his contract.
“We will hire a seasoned airline veteran to replace Mikosz,” said Joseph, before adding that he knew the outgoing CEO was not going to renew his contract.
Michael Joseph also said that Mikosz’s successor will be someone with a knowledge of the aviation sector, to avoid the kind of perceived mismanagement occasioned before Mikosz took over.
“We were once profitable but KQ was looted and that’s why we find ourselves in this situation. This is not a grocery shop, whoever we choose to takeover from Sebastian must be an experienced head with vast networks and an understanding of the business,” said Mr Joseph.
Nairobi-New York route
It is also under the term of Michael Joseph that KQ also launched a direct route from Kenya to the USA. The direct route is from Nairobi to New York.
At the same time, KQ shareholders also supported the nomination of Kenya Pipeline chair John Ngumi to become a director of the company.
As regards the divisive partnership between KQ and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Joseph said that the public private partnership was geared at enhancing Kenya’s aviation industry.
“The public-private partnership is not meant to favour us. It is meant to make sure that we compete with regional competitors like Ethiopia Airlines… all the money raised by their key airport is maintained in the aviation industry. We are trying to achieve something similar,” he said.
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