ETHIOPIAN GETS NEW BOARD

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 4, 2011 14:48

ETHIOPIAN GETS NEW BOARD

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia was this week appointed to the new board of directors of Ethiopian Airlines.  The national flag carrier is 100% owned by the government of Ethiopia.

At a farewell dinner party organized for the outgoing CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Girma Wake, at the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel on Thursday December 30, it was announced that Addisu Legesse, former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and deputy prime minister, is appointed as the new chairman of the board of directors of Ethiopian Airlines.

Legesse replaced Syoum Mesfin, former minister of Foreign Affaires, who served as board chairman of Ethiopian for the past ten years. Mesfin is now appointed as Ethiopian ambassador to China.

Nine other new board members were appointed. Sinkenesk Ejigu, minister of mines, is among the new board members. There were seven members in the former board-Syoum Mesfin, Getachew Mengiste, state minister of the Ministry of Transport, Dr Addisalem Balema, director of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Authority, Dr Hashim Toffik, Col.Simret Medaneh, the first Ethiopian CEO, Captain Mohammed Ahmed, the renowned Ethiopian CEO (known for challenging the Dergue officials in defence of the independence of the management of the airline) and Gebremedin Gebrehiwot.

Legesse handed over medals and certificates to the outgoing board members and Girma Wake, CEO of Ethiopian and handed over his post to Tewolde Gebremariam on January 1.

“I and the new board members understand that this is a crucial moment for Ethiopian,” Legesse told the new management led by Gebremariam and employees of the airline who came to see off Wake, the buoyant CEO. “And I assure you that we will provide you with the required support,” Legesse added.

Mesfin, who repeatedly thanked Wake and the management of Ethiopian as a whole, said that Ethiopian will have a long stretch plans to achieve. However, he expressed his strong belief that the airline will be more successful. “Ethiopian will be a shining star,” he said.

Gebremaraim, the incoming CEO, is also optimistic about the future of the airline. However, he mentioned several challenges that may affect the growth plan of the airline. External shock, global economic crisis, fuel price hike, stiff competition from the Gulf carriers, brain drain, stringent environmental regulations and protection of skies are some of the challenges which Gebremariam listed.

Gebremariam seems scared of the competition coming from the large Middle Eastern carriers that have been expanding into Africa in recent years. Gulf carriers such as Emirates and Qatar are opening more routes in Africa and increasing their flight frequencies. “They are subsidized by their petro dollar resources,” Gebremariam said. However, these airlines, which Gebremariam did not mention by name refute the allegations saying that they are not subsidised by their governments.

The out going CEO,Girma Wake, has expressed his confidence on Gebremariam and his new management team with an average age of 40 years. Gebremariam said the management team has 421 years of airline management experience.

Ethiopian recently began to implement a 15 year growth plan that will transform the airline into a huge aviation group that will have US$10 billion revenue.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 4, 2011 14:48
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