Monday, March 11, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Bezuidenhout tipped to become new SAA boss.

SAA logoSections of the South African travel media have speculated that incumbent South African Airways (SA) CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, who is also the CEO of SAA's LCC wing, Mango, is likely to be confirmed as the carrier's de facto boss.

The Travel Industry Review states that directors at the South African national carrier are expected to present recommendations for a new chief executive to the cabinet by the weekend", with "speculation favouring the confirmation of current Acting CEO and still head of Mango, Nico Bezuidenhout, as the new permanent chief executive."

An announcement is expected at the end of March/early April.

Earlier this month, Bezuidenhout issued a press release slamming "nameless, faceless troublemakers" who claimed to have inside information on him, and who claimed that Bezuidenhout had lied about his qualifications.
Nico Bezuidenhout Mango CEOIt is also a transparent and perfidious attempt to harm the airline by attempting to discredit its management. Whatever the motivation of the anonymous sources in this matter, the result can only be an attempt at destruction of a significant national asset belonging to the people of South Africa.

For the record, Bezuidenhout has never made a secret of the following:
1. his university studies included courses required for degrees in Industrial Psychology and Transport Economics, and for a Master of Business Administration;
2. he did not complete his industrial psychology or transport economics studies, choosing instead to enter the world of work;
3. he has completed his MBA course work, but has so far not handed in his thesis as he chose to concentrate on successfully building SAA’s low cost carrier, Mango, before completing the degree;
4. these facts were laid out transparently and comprehensively in all job applications and CVs he has ever submitted; and
5. should any document, report, or other communication exist which claims anything different to the above, it was written and published without his agreement and has never had his backing.

Again for the record, the standard biographical note used by the SAA Group’s communications department at all relevant times can be found at the end of this statement. Due to an editing error, SAA's 2011 and 2012 annual reports erroneously reported that Mr Bezuidenhout had completed his degrees.
Bezuidenhout took over from former interim CEO, Vuyisile Kona, who was sent on precautionary suspension in early February following "certain allegations against him which the board had a fiduciary duty to investigate".

Since 2009, the airline has had three CEOs, including Mr Kona.