South African Airways (SAA) Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Jarana has resigned due to what he said was the lack of progress on a strategy to turn around the loss-making airline, Fin24 financial news website reported on Sunday.
The state-owned airline has not turned a profit since 2011.
Citing Jarana’s resignation letter to SAA board chairperson Johannes “JB” Magwaza, Fin24 said the CEO cited uncertainty about funding and how slow decision making processes were delaying the airline’s turnaround strategy.
“The strategy is being systematically undermined, and as the Group Chief Executive Officer, I can no longer be able to assure the board and the public that the LTTS (long term turnaround strategy) is achievable,” he was quoted saying in the letter.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali neither confirmed nor denied the report but said the airline board would issue a statement shortly.
Jarana, a former executive at telecoms company Vodacom, was appointed in 2017 to implement a strategy intended to help the airline return to profit and wean it off government bailouts.
SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011, has drawn up a five-year turnaround plan that includes slashing costs and cancelling unprofitable routes as it grapples with cost increases that far outstrip revenue growth.
Jarana said in April that the airline has reached an agreement in principle with lenders to roll over 9.2 billion rand ($631.00 million) of debt.
His resignation comes more than a week after struggling state-owned power utility Eskom said its CEO, Phakamani Hadebe, was stepping down for health reasons after leading efforts to stabilise the highly indebted state firm.
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