Troubled national airline, Air Zimbabwe, is hunting for a new CEO to replace former boss, Captain Ripton Muzenda. The firm has been battling to rediscover itself after years of poor performance allegedly due to bad corporate management.
Cpt Muzenda was fired by the Professor Chipo Dyanda-led Air Zimbabwe board last month on allegations of declining to implement a staff rationalisation exercise that was designed to save the firm up to $2,4 million. In a statement, Air Zimbabwe said it is “looking for an experienced and strategic thinking executive to oversee the organisation’s core operations and systems”.
“This is an aviation specialised command job requiring an overall operational responsibility for all airline’s core operations.” The ideal candidate is expected to providing strategic direction to the organisation; implement the airline’s vision, mission and objectives; coordinate its business activities and provide strong leadership that ensures the business is run professionally and profitably.
The new CEO is also expected to grow “the business through forging strategic links and partnerships, (and) establishing strong corporate governance culture within the organisation”. Air Zimbabwe is looking forward to recruiting a holder of a relevant first degree, aviation industry professional qualifications, at least 10 years managerial experience of which five years must have been at senior management level in the airline industry.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo, recently confirmed that Cpt Muzenda had been sacked by the Air Zimbabwe board after a fallout over issues to do with turning around the organisation.
“There is nothing wrong about people losing their jobs if there is a problem. I know very well about what happened with Ripton Muzenda, but I don’t want to talk about someone’s life in public because he still has some dignity to maintain. What I know is that he had his own problems about the turnaround and the timelines, which he had been given by which to do certain things . . .
“So there were talks between him and the board until such a time that they censured him and then they agreed to part ways with him amicably because there were issues on the targets the board wanted him to meet,” said Dr Gumbo. Cpt Muzenda took over the reins at Air Zimbabwe in August last year, and ran the firm for just over 15 months.
He had taken over from Edmund Makona, who was acting CEO since 2013. Mr Makona had also taken over from Mr Innocent Mavhunga who had replaced Dr Peter Chikumba, whose contract was not renewed in 2011. This makes the Air Zimbabwe CEO’s job a volatile one, which requires someone with physical and mental stamina to withstand the pressures associated with it.
Air Zimbabwe is also in the hunt for a chief operating officer to replace Mr Simba Chikore. Mr Chikore resigned in November after giving a three notice. Dr Gumbo told The Herald Business recently that Mr Chikore — who is son-in-law of former President Mugabe — left the parastatal reportedly to negotiate the coming in of another airline, Zimbabwe Airways. Zimbabwe Airways is owned largely by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora through an investment vehicle called Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company.