EDITORIAL: KQ boss must ensure revival plan does not disappoint

From left: Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz, chairman Michael Joseph and board advisor Mbuvi Ngunze. PHOTO | FILE
From left: Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz, chairman Michael Joseph and board advisor Mbuvi Ngunze. PHOTO | FILE  

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ CEO Sebastian Mikosz has no doubt taken over leadership of the airline as a turn-around artist.

The hopes of a country that he will pull the national carrier out of its current debt hole and mismanagement rests on him, and he must not disappoint.

Having taken the helm at KQ on June 1, Mr Mikosz has largely kept out of public limelight, rebutting all requests for media responses or appearances.

His first public act, inevitably, came in the form of a leaked memo that has forced him to face the cameras after a four-month silence.

News emerging on Wednesday that five Polish managers had been quietly hired since September 1 came from disgruntled staff, who are afraid of their job security at the airline.

Mr Mikosz’s mixed signals as to the tenure and employment terms of the five expatriates may not help to assuage the fears of the sullen workers.

In one stroke, the KQ boss said the expats would be hired on a three-month contract, but immediately added that they could also stay longer.

Investors will be watching what happens at the end of November. But sending mixed signals is not exactly the way to run a public listed company.

Mr Mikosz must realise that the national carrier is a family jewel that every Kenyan lays claim to.

After all, if it were not for taxpayers’ contribution to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars KQ would be dead and buried by now.

That is why Mr Mikosz must think about changing his approach to management of the airline.

He must be transparent and accessible to answer questions that the media regularly asks on behalf of 45 million Kenyans.

He must also realise that, despite his best efforts and intentions, he cannot turn around KQ’s fortunes alone.

He needs the complete, dedicated input of every worker from his senior most deputy to the lowly tea girl.

As he embarks on hiring of the right talent to help him with the gigantic task ahead, he must do so with a lot of retrospection and soft skill.

He must be careful to carry all on board, or leave some behind and the project won’t fly.