Home Airlines New SAA interim CFO tasked with transforming loss-making airline

New SAA interim CFO tasked with transforming loss-making airline


South African Airways (SAA) has appointed Deon Fredericks as interim CFO, with the aim of finding a permanent replacement within 12 months. Fredericks, who will take up the new role Oct. 15, succeeds interim CFO Robert Head, whose contract expired Sept. 30.

Fredericks is joining SAA on a 12-month secondment from 39% state-owned South African telecommunications provider Telkom.

SAA chairman Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza said this appointment will “ensure that SAA’s strategic objective of transforming the business into a financially sustainable aviation group is achieved.”

SAA said Fredericks is a chartered accountant, with over 30 years’ experience of working in blue-chip organizations. He has held the role of Telkom chief investment officer since July. Prior to that, he was Telkom CFO, a position he held for nearly four years.

“SAA will, in the ensuing 12-month period, initiate and finalize the recruitment process for the appointment of its permanent CFO,” SAA said.

Last month, loss-making SAA said it has “enough” access to working capital and will not file for bankruptcy. The airline claimed a “material improvement” to its first-quarter performance, with some routes delivering their first profits in more than a decade.

“We have always maintained that it will take us until 2021 to break even. This means that our costs will remain higher than our revenue until we reach the breakeven point. We continue to implement initiatives to drive costs down and improve revenue as part of the turnaround strategy,” SAA said.

The airline said it is working “around the clock” to find a lasting financial solution to the company’s capital requirements. SAA’s maturing loans will come due in March 2019.

“No decisions have been taken to dispose of any SAA entities or assets at this stage,” SAA said, although it confirmed that options were presented to September board meeting.



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