Ready to hire! SAA looking for new CEO and four other executive leaders after Takatso deal collapses

South African Airways said it has opened applications for several positions as the airline tries to maintain some stability after the Takatso deal fell through. Picture: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

South African Airways said it has opened applications for several positions as the airline tries to maintain some stability after the Takatso deal fell through. Picture: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 9, 2024


South African Airways (SAA) has opened applications to fill five key executive leadership positions, including the role of chief executive, as the airline tries to maintain some stability after the collapse of the Takatso deal fell through.

The company has high profile executive leadership positions for a chief executive officer (CEO), chief commercial officer (CCO), chief human capital officer (CHCO), A technical CEO and a CEO Airchefs.

The interim board appointed an interim executive team to assist in the in the transition during the Takatso negotiations but since the deal collapsed, the state owned company has set about to find a more permanent leadership team.

"The interim executive management team has admirably rebuilt the airline as it emerged out of business rescue with the understanding that their posts would remain interim positions until a new controlling shareholder appoints its management team,“ interim board chairperson Derek Hanekom said.

He said advertising these vacancies was a positive move by the company and will show that SAA is providing organisational stability, showcasing growth and its expansion plans.

“All of them, including the interim CEO, Prof John Lamola, support the development as a necessary and natural step in strengthening SAA's position in both local and international aviation markets," he added.

IOL has outlined some of the key responsibilities, minimum required qualifications and experience for the five executive leadership jobs. The full job specifications have been advertised in the media.

Job requirements for CEO

Key responsibilities, qualifications and experience for the SAA CEO

  • Set the airline’s overall strategy vision and culture
  • Ensure that SAA translates its customer value proposition into practical product and service attributes
  • External stakeholder management
  • Develop and lead high performing executive leadership team and deliver a robust leadership
  • Optimal governance frameworks and systems ensuring compliance to all relevant legislation
  • Relevant post-graduate qualification in business or equivalent with extensive knowledge and executive-level experience in the Aviation industry with at least 10-15 years is essential

Job requirements for CCO

Key responsibilities, qualifications and experience

  • Develop and implement the commercial strategy which will support the business strategic objectives
  • Oversee strategy development and implementation within the Commercial function, providing guidance around strategy development
  • Oversee the teams responsible for sales and marketing, product design, geographic profitability, and Cargo sales and day-of operations.
  • Collaborate with the customer experience team to align on the overall customer agenda
  • Degree in Commerce, Business Administration and/or equivalent & MBA or similar
  • 10-12 years experience in an airline Commercial related role, with at least 5 years at management level
  • Industry experience advantageous

Job requirements for CHCO

Key responsibilities, qualifications and experience

  • Assist in developing the Group Business Strategy
  • Act as a strategic member of the Exco teams to align the development and implementation of HR programmes and processes
  • Provide consultative advice to management regarding the execution of business strategy and participate in corporate-wide human resources initiatives
  • Benchmark best practices in talent management and organisational effectiveness to develop a clearly defined HR strategy
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business or Human Resources Management (e.g.: B.Com, B.BusSci, BA Human Resources)
  • Minimum of 10 years of human resources generalist/ HR business partner leadership experience Q

Job Requirements for SAA Technical CEO

Key responsibilities, qualification and experience

  • Set the organisation’s overall strategy, vision and direction, in line with Group strategy
  • Represent SAAT and its interest in discussions surrounding the broader Group strategy
  • Prepare operating and capital budgets and prudently manage/allocate resources within budget
  • Establish goals and a monitoring system for operational performance
  • Measure performance of direct reports and their respective departments against the approved budget
  • Maintain a deep understanding of the airline’s revenue and cost performance
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Business Management or related field
  • Minimum 10 years of experience in a technical operations leadership position
  • Understanding of SACAA licensing requirements
  • Experience in commercial service contract negotiations and administration preferred

Job Requirements for AirChefs CEO

Key responsibilities, qualifications and experience

  • Budget preparation and management
  • Actively monitors the process improvement expenditure and service delivery against plans and budgets
  • Seeks high-value net profit opportunities
  • Embarks on cost containment initiatives to maximise the benefits of realisation business initiatives
  • Management of Stakeholder Networks and partnerships
  • Honours Degree in business/logistics/transport economics or related Master’s degree
  • At least 6- 10 years’ experience in a similar role or similar business environment
  • Proven track record on airing new business and entering into new business opportunities
  • Proven track record of effective negotiating skills
  • Understanding of the economics of business as well as the influence of global and local markets

Takatso collapse

In March, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan announced the sale of SAA to Takatso consortium has been called off.

He said this was due to new valuations that have emerged and put SAA at R1 billion and its properties at R5.5bn.

Gordhan said the deal was off the table because they decided to cut their losses with Takatso after new valuations from reputable professional firms.

At the time, the department noted that SAA can sustain itself for the next year to 18 months.

At no stage will SAA get bailouts, said Gordhan. He added SAA must be able to sustain itself.