Thursday, October 28, 2021

Air Botswana struggling to identify CEO

Appointing a General Manager for national airline, Air Botswana (AB), may turn out to be a tough task for authorities after the airline lost a streak of GMs over the years, prompting suspicion the job is among the toughest in Botswana’s corporate sector.

A top insider at AB, who requested anonymity, has revealed that the Board has been undertaking rigorous consultations for over a month but failing to appoint any of the four candidates for the GM post. But there are few takers.

“The Board, which has been conducting a series of meetings every week since December 2012, has failed to come up with a perfect candidate,” revealed the source.

Information reaching Sunday Standard has shown that of the four candidates none of them has a thorough knowledge of aviation compliance requirements, like regulatory frameworks and international Operational Safety Audit of IATA, the world civil aviation authority.

At least one of the applicants is said to have left a previous employer under a cloud.
The four candidates are locals and are currently employed at Air Botswana. One of the four contending for the GM post is Joe Motse, who is the current Commercial Director at Air Botswana. Previously Motse was with Botswana Tourism Organization, Cresta and Debswana.

Information shows that Motse has left some of his previous employers on a bad note. He has previously served as a board member at Air Botswana. His previous employer did not take kindly to the fact that he applied for a job at Air Botswana while still serving as the hotel chain’s Marketing Manager.

Another contender is Mphi Tlhomelang, who is the Finance Director at AB. Tlhomelang has been with the airline for nine years.

Robert Mpabanga is the other contender for the GM position. Formerly the country Manager at South African Express, Mpabanga is the Customer and Grounds Director at AB.

Then there is Chedza Boalopi the current Human Resource Manager at AB.

Her downside is that she does not have the technical background in aviation, which is one of the requirements.

It has not gone unnoticed that none of the four candidates has experience at the helm of a complex and struggling organization like AB that needs a solid turnaround strategy. Undercurrents show that staff has no confidence in any of the four.

Negative sentiments have been aroused among the staff and board who feel the jostling candidates are under qualified.

A few days before the Christmas holidays, Sakhile Nyoni Reiling, who was the General Manager at Air Botswana, dropped a bomb from the blue when she tendered in her resignation after serving the airline since May 2011.

In her resignation letter Nyoni-Reiling cited personal reasons.

Under Nyoni-Reiling’s headship the national airline was beginning to show good results after it embarked on an ambitious turnaround which saw the airline acquiring new jets and successfully going through the (IOSA) qualifying to become IATA member. However, an old and unreliable fleet led it at times to flights being cancelled.

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