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KQ suspends finance boss as fallout gets murkier

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KQ CFO: The chief financial officer at Kenya Airways has been suspended. This comes as an executive fallout at the national carrier gets murkier. It also follows the resignation of the airline’s chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz who will be leaving at the end of December.

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

A report that appeared in the Business Daily on Wednesday said that the CFO Hellen Mathuka, was sent on compulsory leave last Friday after disagreeing on strategy with the carrier.

How KQ bought Sh. 2 billion old planes, sold them at Sh. 200 million

“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. 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,” says the report.

It further says that the KQ CFO position at Kenya Airways has been a difficult one.  “Ms Mathuka replaced Dick Murianki, who was moved back to head the airline’s cargo unit “at his own request.” Alex Mbugua, the then CFO, told the court in 2016 that Kenya Airways sacked him from the position, raising the alarm over irregular ticketing practices in some overseas stations such as London, and for recommending a review of KQ’s relationship with Dutch national carrier, KLM. Mr Mbugua had been awarded Sh144 million for wrongful termination, but the court reduced the payout gross salary for nine months estimated at Sh. 27 million,” says the report.  KQ made a net loss of Sh. 8.5 billion in the half year ended June, more than double the net loss of Sh. 4 billion in a similar period a year earlier as costs rose faster than revenue.

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