South African Airways (SAA) on Friday announced it had appointed its General Manager for Operations Zukiswa Ramasia as acting chief executive officer following the resignation of Vuyani Jarana.
The announcement was made at a press briefing on the company’s current state of affairs.
Jarana unexpectedly resigned last week after less than two years in office citing uncertainty around funding and slow decision-making processes which delayed the airline’s turnaround strategy.
Ramasia will begin her duties with effect from Monday, June 10 with the board confirming that it has begun a search domestically and globally for a permanent CEO with appropriate experience and expertise.
“Mr Vuyani Jarana will no longer serve as CEO of SAA from end of day Monday but will avail himself to provide transitional support and handover processes to the board and management when so required for the duration of his notice period which goes on until the end of August,” SAA Board Member Thandeka Mgoduso said.
Mgoduso reiterated the SAA board and management’s commitment to the carrier’s turnaround strategy.
“What we’ve been saying to our employees is the transformation of SAA to profitability continues as has been the case while the outgoing CEO was in place as well as even before, because the turnaround strategy predates the outgoing CEO,” Mgoduso said.
Mgoduso also said the current focus is strengthening the executive to run and implementation of the long-term strategy in the company.
The SAA board acknowledged that the company is facing critical financial circumstances and needs new cash injections.
The SAA board said it is in discussion with the Department of Public Enterprises, National Treasury and financial institutions about putting in place a financial structure that will support the long-term sustainability of the company,” Mgoduso added.
The SAA has not made a profit in nearly eight years and the outgoing CEO Jarana had launched a revised five-year turnaround plan which included cost-cutting and cancellation of unprofitable routes. This required about $1.5 billion (21.7 billion rand) in cash injections from the government.