Kenya Airways suspends CFO again

Kenya Airways has suspended its chief financial officer in a development that look set to destabilise the executive suite of the national carrier struggling to recover from years of losses.

A director of the national carrier, who sought anonymity, told the Business Daily that the head of finance, Hellen Mathuka, was sent on compulsory leave last Friday after disagreeing on strategy with the carrier.

The moves come as the national carrier prepares for the premature departure of its chief executive Sebastian Mikosz at the end of December.

The Business Daily was unable to get an official comment over the executive fallout that comes in the middle of plans to nationalise the airline privatised 23 years ago.

On Tuesday, Mikosz said he had no comment for this story while KQ chairman, Michael Joseph, termed Ms Mathuka’s absence from work an internal Kenya Airways matter.

“She is on leave. I’m a bit disappointed that you people of the media want to report every detail including internal matters at KQ,” Mr Joseph told the Business Daily Tuesday on the sidelines of an aviation meeting.

Ms Mathuka’s mobile phone has remained off since Monday.

Sensitive information

Kenya Airways has been investigating the source of leaked sensitive company information from the board.

The management turbulence risks further hurting the loss-making airline in the transition period when it needs to find a new leader, who would continue the turnaround initiatives the airline began three years ago.

With Mr Mikosz leaving at the end of December, the airline will have to move fast to seek his replacement.Chief financial officers typically step in to hold the CEO’s role on a temporary basis should the search of a leader extend beyond the timeline.Ms Mathuka’s prolonged absence from work could cloud this process.The early departure of Mr Mikosz, whom the airline relied on to turn it around, is a signal of the arduous task of improving the company’s performance.Mr Mikosz was hired in 2017 and his contract was to run until next year before he decided to shorten it for personal reasons.The CFO position at Kenya Airways has been a turbulent one. Ms Mathuka replaced Dick Murianki, who was moved back to head the airline’s cargo unit “at his own request.”

Irregular ticketing

Alex Mbugua, the then CFO, told the court in 2016 that Kenya Airways sacked him from the position, raising the alarm over irregular ticketing […]

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