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Troubled Kenya Airways loses top boss as major shake-up continues
Written By Michael Maunda on Monday, January 21, 2013 | 8:52 PM
Kenya Airway’s commercial director Mohan Chandra has left the company, a few months after it shocked the market with a historic half-year loss.
Mr Chandra served his last day in the company’s management on Friday last week when his contract expired.
His exit, coming barely two months after the company appointed a new marketing director, Mr Chris Diaz, points to an ongoing management restructuring as the company fights to regain profitability.
The company communications manager, Mr Chris Karanja, was quoted in our sister publication, The East African, confirming Mr Chandra’s exit.
“Both parties agreed to mutually end the contract,” a different source within the company said.
It is, however, not clear whether Mr Chandra, 61, had applied for renewal of his contract.
He joined KQ in August 2009 after serving as an aviation advisor and chief operating officer at Emirates Post Group.
But it is at KLM — KQ’s largest shareholder — that Mr Chandra accumulated most of his experience in the aviation industry, having served for 27 years as the regional manager in charge of United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Yemen and Oman station.
His exit comes barely three months after the company reported the biggest half-year loss by a listed company in Kenya on account of rising operation costs and falling passenger numbers.
In the six months to September 2012, the company recorded a Sh4.7 billion loss, down from Sh2 billion after-tax profit recorded over the same period in 2011.
“We were unable to predict what was happening in the market place correctly, and this is one of the reasons we had to pull out of daily flights to London.
“We have suspended operations to Rome, Muscat and Zanzibar in order to reduce loss-making routes,” Kenya Airways chief executive Titus Naikuni said when he announced the results.
Mr Chandra’s successor will have his or her work cut out to lift the company back to the profit-making zone in an industry faced with turbulency and competition.
KQ’s current head of strategic network planning, Mr Jim Kibati, will serve as the marketing director in an acting capacity as the company scouts for a replacement.