Former Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph has taken over as chairman of Kenya Airways as the government moved to stop a planned pilots strike that was scheduled for tomorrow.
Joseph, who recently joined the board, takes over from Dennis Awori, who announced last week he will be quitting though he denied the move was in reaction to the demands by the Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (KALPA).
Joseph retired from Safaricom in October 2010 after 10 years at the helm and was replaced by Bob Collymore. He is seen as the best bet to fly Kenya Airways out of the current turbulence.
The pilots’ union had demanded the exit of Awori and CEO Mbuvi Ngunze accusing them of failing to resuscitate the national carrier. Kenya Airways denies this.
Ministry of Labour officials were for the better part of the day hold up in crisis talks with KALPA to forestall the strike, which Kenya Airways had warned would lead to massive losses and stall its turnaround strategy. The pilots had ignored a government warning and a court order to pursue their demands.
However, after the mediation talks, KALPA has agreed to defer the strike.
Earlier today, the airline recalled staff who have been on annual leave after crew members outsourced from Career Directions Ltd persisted with their strike. They are demanding better remuneration.