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Mikosz’s KQ succession sparks row

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Outgoing Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

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Summary

  • Accusations fly between union and KQ amid claims of propaganda.

The race to find a successor for outgoing Kenya Airways (KQ) #ticker:KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz has sparked a war of words between the aviation workers union and the national carrier, signalling how hot the CEO seat will likely be for the next boss.

In correspondence between the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) secretary-general Moss Ndiema and KQ’s human resources boss seen by the Business Daily the lobby wants recruitment stopped, saying it is concerned about its secrecy.

The union notes that there has been no public advertisement of the vacancy to attract suitable candidates for the job as stipulated in the airline’s recruitment policy.

“The fact remains that recruitment for the new CEO is being done secretly and were it not for our intervention, the announcement of the appointment was imminent … We shall not tire to point out such irregularities and wanton contravention of policies which in the past has cost the airline immense losses after appointing top executives whose credentials are epitomised by their sheer incompetence well testified by their poor performance at the helm,” said Mr Ndiema in a scathing letter dated September 13 addressed to KQ’s human resources manager Evelyne Munyoki.

The correspondence was initiated by Ms Munyoki who in a letter to the union dated September 3 raised concerns about alleged misinformation spread by Mr Ndiema after he made comments to a local news outlet regarding the recruitment.

KQ also accuses Mr Ndiema of frustrating talks to enter into a new pay deal for unionised workers by walking out of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiation meeting on July 12, The airline also claims the union boss did not showing up to another called my Mr Mikosz earlier in February over the same issue.

“We have noted a trend in perpetuating gross misinformation with no basis in your role as secretary-general. In our opinion, this is aimed at eliciting favourable emotions from our staff and members of the public … What, we wonder, is your motivation behind doing this?” Ms Munyoki poses.

The union is adamant that KQ has begun courting a potential candidate, a claim the airline denies.

“We would like to categorically state that the KQ board has not appointed anyone to the position of CEO,” said Ms Munyoki. Mr Mikosz announced in May that he will quit in December before his term expires in June next year.

The CEO position has not yet officially been declared vacant.

KQ chairman Michael Joseph recently called for the professionalisation of the airline’s board to avoid picking politically-connected directors in order to give it a chance of survival after nationalisation.