New blood for Comair board after shareholder outcry

2020/01/21 22:11:00

“My knowledge of the aviation industry is limited.”

“My knowledge of the aviation industry is limited.”

The Kulula operator has replaced long-serving members after investors voiced concern over a lack of independence

A Kulula aircraft operated by Comair. Picture: SUNDAY TIMESAviation group Comair has appointed new board members three monthsafter shareholders raised concerns about the lack of independence among some non-executive directors.SA’s only JSE-listed airline operator said the former director of the SA Civil Aviation Authority, Colin Jordaan, Bidvest CEO-designate Nompumelelo Madisa, chartered accountant and business consultant Farzanah Mall and an executive director of Orenda Advisory & Strategy, Tebogo Mekgoe, would join its board.

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21 January 2020 - 19:19 A Kulula aircraft operated by Comair.mass resignation last week.21 January 2020 - 18:46 Genevieve Quintal The Pelindaba nuclear reactor plant near Pretoria.AFP/Ben Stansall BRUSSELS, Belgium - With just two weeks to go before Brexit, European diplomats are preparing for the next phase: intense negotiations to hammer out a future with Britain after its EU divorce.

Picture: SUNDAY TIMES Aviation group Comair has appointed new board members three months after shareholders raised concerns  about the lack of independence among some non-executive directors . SA’s only JSE-listed airline operator said the former director of the SA Civil Aviation Authority, Colin Jordaan, Bidvest CEO-designate Nompumelelo Madisa, chartered accountant and business consultant Farzanah Mall and an executive director of Orenda Advisory & Strategy, Tebogo Mekgoe, would join its board. In a statement released by the energy department on Tuesday, Mantashe listed the new seven member board that will serve for a three year period in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act. The appointments come after recent resignations of long-serving board members including former chair Piet van Hoven, Rodney Sacks and Martin Maritz. Necsa is the custodian of the country’s nuclear programmes, which include a medical radioisotopes business used in cancer treatment and fluorochemical manufacture. Van Hoven had been on the Comair board since 1993, while Maritz and Sacks had served on the board since 1979 and 1980 respectively.   Other members include: Senamile Masango, Joseph Shayi, Aadilah Chowan, Dr Gregory Jerome Davids, Mashuku James Maboa and Dr Namane Magau. Comair’s board came under fire from shareholders at an annual general meeting (AGM) in October over governance."It's an impossible task," warned one European diplomat.

At that meeting, Comair chair and Bidvest CEO Lindsay Ralphs reiterated other shareholders’ concerns about lack of independence on the Comair board.”  “The appointment of the board attests to the minister’ publicly stated commitment to ensure good governance in state owned entities in the mining and energy portfolio,” it said. He said it was the department’s intention to see a stable Necsa in the current financial year. Ralphs said at the time Comair needed “a massive shake-up”. Bidvest is the largest shareholder in the operator of Kulula and British Airways in SA with a 26. Mantashe invoked the words of Jesus Christ to assert his authority and vowed to fight those who disrespected him.91% stake. “The board members possess a wide range of skills in areas including nuclear regulation, nuclear analytical and calibration services, nuclear science, engineering, finance, law and corporate governance,” it said. Van Hoven, who became a lead independent director after the AGM, resigned with immediate effect on January 9.  Another representative for the department of international relations and cooperation is said to be announced in due course. Johnson will instead pursue a far more minimal trade deal that will seek zero tariffs and quotas on goods.

At the AGM, Ralphs defended Van Hoven’s appointment. “My knowledge of the aviation industry is limited. Get in touch. In their last week, acting Necsa chair Pulane Kingston and her three fellow directors accused Mantashe of frustrating and undermining their ability to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities. It was felt that, for a period of one year, I should have the assistance of Van Hoven,” he said. Tuesday’s announcement follows the company’s decision in December to appoint Wrenelle Stander as group CEO, in a step away from its previous joint-CEO model. As part of that move, Comair’s other previous joint-CEO, Glenn Orsmond, became the CEO of Comair’s airline division, the company’s largest business unit. The board has previously recommended that should neither of these two matters be urgently addressed by Mantashe, Necsa should be placed into “final liquidation”. "Our first choice is that nothing changes," lamented a diplomat.

The aviation and travel group’s other business units are tourism and hospitality, training, information technology and maintenance and leasing. Get our news and views in your inbox The company said Naran Maharajh, chair of the audit committee and an independent nonexecutive director, had been appointed as the lead independent nonexecutive director with immediate effect. It has also appointed Kim Gorringe as the new company secretary with effect from February 16. In October, with a cash flow crisis imminent, the board requested permission to make use of ring-fenced funds to meet financial obligations, including the payment of salaries between December and March 2020. “Kim, who has more than 30 years’ experience in regulatory and legal affairs, risk management and stakeholder engagement in aviation, currently serves as Comair’s executive manager: governance, risk and compliance,” Comair said in a statement. Gorringe replaced Derek Borer, who also resigned on January 9 with immediate effect. When British goods and services come knocking on Europe's door, they will insist that UK goods are subject to checks like those from any other non-EU country.

Comair said Avsharn Bachoo would become the company’s chief information officer from February 1. Necsa has also realised less revenue from its commercial activities than it did previously. “Bachoo is a technology strategist specialising in digital transformation, software engineering, data analytics, machine learning, cloud computing and enterprise architecture,” the company said. .