Despite taking full onslaught outgoing KQ CEO Mbuvi Ngunze has turned things around - Vindicated

When KQ losses started, Nguze as the newly installed CEO took the blunt of the criticism, calls for resignation, riots, endless summons from EACC, PAC, CID and auditors. He rode the harsh wave all the way and faced them without losing his cool or acting out. He took the fault for bad decisions made by former CEO Naikuni, KQ board including Air France/KLM members and Amos Kimunya as Minister of Transport. Every bad decision made was designed and approved by the full board and him as COO then was just a formality in signing his bit same as all managers then. However everyone was spared but he was taken to task for that collective decision. After all that parallel investigations he was cleared and the matter ended silently. However Ngunze finished Operation restore pride - A recovery strategy designed by MacKinsley who he and previous Chair Awori contracted to save KQ. He can go home knowing he did well to stop the fall and build KQ back up. Sorry for those who wanted him hanged, foresight, cool heads and good judgement is more important in crisis than wild emotions.

KENNEDY KANGETHE, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Hope has returned at the pride of Africa as Kenya Airways cut their losses by 51 percent in 2017 to hit Sh10.2 billion compared to the Sh26 billion it recorded in 2016.KQ Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze says the turnaround strategy the airline has been implementing in the last one and a half years has started to bear fruit resulting in better performance. Passenger numbers went up by 5.4 percent, to 4.5 million customers the highest the airline has ever had while cabin factor went up by 4 percent.Turnover went down by 8.5 percent to Sh106 billion compared to Sh116 billion in 2016, while net finance cost went up by Sh4.1 percent to Sh7.3 billion from Sh7 billion. The airline was also impaired by foreign exchange losses that hit Sh4 billion due to the devaluation of currencies in Sudan and Nigeria during the period under review, however, this was a 62 percent decline from Sh10 billion loss in 2016. Fuel costs declined by 2.5 percent to Sh23 billion while operating costs went down by 3.7 percent to Sh41 billion. Going forward the firm is focusing on financial restructuring and senior management improvements.

“We are working on increasing new staff at the senior management level to help with the turnaround. We are also planning to renegotiate our debt repayment with our finance partners so that we can pay our debt over a longer period,” said KQ Chairman Michael Joseph.

The airline is also planning to add 20 new frequencies in Africa.The National Carrier earlier appointed a Polish National Sebastian Mikosz as the new Managing Director effective June 1, 2017 to replace Mbuvi Ngunze who was set to leave in the first quarter of 2017 following two years of loss making at the airline.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2016 18:07 BY MUGAMBI MUTEGI, [email protected] |

Kenya Airways’ chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze was none the wiser on the evening of April 27 when he shook hands with representatives of the pilots’ union having seemingly reached an agreement averting a strike. The courts had a few hours earlier issued orders stopping the airmen from downing their tools, offering the CEO extra comfort that operations at the airline’s JKIA hub would continue uninterrupted. Mbuvi, one of the KQ chiefs the pilots wanted booted for alleged mismanagement, was checkmated a few hours later when the union rounded up its members for the strike. Over 25 flights were cancelled, throwing the airline into a spin which, when it ended, left the cash-strapped national carrier Sh200 million poorer. In October, the pilots were at it again — loudly reiterating their demand that the Harvard-trained executive exits the business alongside his chairman Ambassador Dennis Awori. This time around, with State House’s uncharacteristic intervention, the pilots seemingly won as it has since been announced that the embattled chief executive will be replaced by April next year.

Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph has since taken over as chair. These staff upheavals were just some of the challenges that Mr Ngunze, a younger brother of Commercial Bank of Africa CEO Jeremy Ngunze, had to surmount since taking over the stewardship of the national carrier in December 2014. Just a day after he was unveiled as the incoming boss in June 2014, the listed carrier announced a net loss of Sh3.38 billion for the 12 months to March 2014. This second straight year of losses was Ngunze’s welcome to the big office, spelling out, in bleak numbers, the huge task which was ahead of him in rescuing the carrier from financial doldrums.
But Mbuvi, 49, was definitely conversant with KQ’s abysmal state; he had been the airline’s chief operating officer for three years before being internally tapped to replace Titus Naikuni. KQ was dealing with a dip in load factors, travel advisories, biting fuel hedging contracts and loans, a weakened Kenya shilling, amassed VAT refunds, increased competition from Middle East carriers and a myriad of other issues.

It all seemed like a perpetually renewable reservoir of problems that were threatening to strip the country’s national carrier of its very essence — The Pride of Africa. Nonetheless, the former Lafarge executive said he was “excited” about the appointment, oozing confidence that despite the prevailing “turbulent times”, the airline was “positioned for growth.” And he had a plan. Two weeks after officially taking over, Ngunze announced that the carrier had hired US investment banker PJT Partners to help restructure its debt. Their main task was renegotiating the maturity of loans to reduce the strain that repayment of short-term obligations was having on its cash flow, even forcing them to pay salaries using debt.

“We are a cash-hungry business. We recognise that this (debt) is one area of exposure,” he said on November 13, 2014, while also announcing that the airline had posted an after-tax loss of Sh10.45 billion for the half-year through September.

KQ shortly thereafter hired New York-based Seabury to evaluate its sales, ticketing and network planning and benchmark them with global best practice in the industry. These two firms were precursors to the grand restructuring plan, Operation Pride, which saw the entry of yet another US-based firm — McKinsey & Co.
Operation Pride promises to close the airline’s profitability gap, revisit and streamline its operations and lastly develop a capital raising strategy with a target of about Sh60 billion.

“A year ago, we were being buried. We are still here. Though we have reported losses, we are focused on turning around the company. The plan will take us between 18 and 24 months,” Mr Ngunze said in an interview in November 2015.

While he remained clear on the plan’s viability, the pilots’ union poked holes in it, rubbishing it as an unsustainable cost-cutting strategy which only served as proof of his inability to lead the company. Opinion on his character is diverse. Several staffers praised him as ‘‘intelligent”, a “hard worker”, a boss who led the company “without managerial airs” and one who was “not accustomed to buck passing.” Another employee opined that Ngunze was able to “easily” transition from the cement world to aviation by allowing colleagues to educate him, regardless of their rank. Several pilots however maintained their icy sentiments. A former pilot claimed Ngunze was not willing to distinguish between “employees and their role in the union”, creating an “emotionally-charged” rift which he said still exists. One talent that even a strong critic attested to is his golfing skills. The acquaintance jokingly said he hoped the outgoing CEO had registered as much success on the “runway as he did on the greens.” Mr Ngunze is a member of the Karen Country Club. In July 2013, at the same golf course, he shook off a strong field of 160 golfers to emerge the winner of the Citibank Corporate Golf Day contest with 38 points.

The Alliance High School alumnus’ favourite music instrument is the saxophone. To celebrate his 49th birthday last month, some employees organised for saxophonist Chris Bitok to do a surprise performance for him at Pride Centre, KQ’s headquarters in Embakasi. He also has a palate for fine whisky, on the rocks. The father-of-one has no social media presence, choosing instead to receive information touching on the airline from colleagues. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (accounting option) from the University of Nairobi. He is listed on the institution’s website as one of Kenya’s prominent personalities to have studied there. He is a chartered accountant (England and Wales) and a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Management Development Programme. He started his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, working his way up to audit manager. He joined Bamburi Cement in 1998 as finance manager, was promoted to the finance director a year later and in March 2002 appointed managing director Hima Cement Uganda, a Lafarge subsidiary. In May 2006, he moved to the headquarters of Lafarge in Paris. Three years later he was appointed general manager for Mbeya Cement — Lafarge’s operations in Tanzania. He left Mbeya Cement for KQ in 2011, when the airline was launching the much-hyped but ill-fated Project Mawingu.As he prepares to exit the national carrier, the chief executive is leaving behind yet another grand plan to be taken over, in all likelihood, by an expatriate. Mr Ngunze still maintains that he has no regrets about joining KQ.

“There are a lot of milestones which we have delivered. The next milestone for me is the financial structure we are working on and that should be a natural point to pass on the baton,” he said after news of his imminent departure broke.

maybe its because he knows he is going. otherwise he could be planning how a certain private company will supply pens @100 a piece for the next 10yrs

This may be purely a cosmetic stunt I agree

KQ recapitalization negotiations are going on well.


By the way, mbona hao former bosses hawako in Court. Whoever signed that deal with KLM was either a fool or a very big thief. I tend to believe it is the latter.

Hiyo contract na KLM inasema:

“You shall use our name in return for, We will share your profits but incase you incur a loss, you shall bear the loss alone”
“You shall also without hesitation use our services to service your planes and pay in full but we shall retain the freedom to service our planes with any company”

Which buffoon signed that. Fuckwit, retard, fala

It’s also called FDI my fren