John Ngumi resigns as Kenya Airways independent director

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 2 Jun, 2023 11:59 | 3 mins read
John Ngumi resigns as Kenya Airways independent director
Investment banker John Ngumi. PHOTO/Courtesy

Investment banker John Ngumi has resigned as an independent non-executive director of Kenya Airways (KQ).

In a statement on Friday, June 2, 2023, KQ board of directors chairperson Michal Joseph announced the appointment of James David Kabereri to fill the vacancy in an interim capacity, pending an annual general meeting.

Kabeberi has been serving as an ex-officio member of the Kenya Airways Plc Audit and Risk Committee.

"He brings to Kenya Airways Plc vast experience garnered over 40 years in accounting, finance and business strategy in several industries spanning across both large, complex companies and emerging startups, and in the public and private sectors," Joseph said.

Kaberia is a qualified professional accountant and a registered member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). He is currently enrolled for an MSc in Finance and Accounting.

"On behalf of the Board, I congratulate and welcome Mr. Kabeberi to the Board of Kenya Airways Plc and wish him the best in his new role," Joseph added.

Ngumi has been associated with KQ since the airline's inception in 1977. He joined the board in 2019.

The chair described Ngumi as "a loyal and frequent passenger" who has also served as KQ's banker and financial advisor.

"He was first elected to the Board in 2019, joining at a time when the severity, extent and seriousness of KQ's financial and other challenges were becoming apparent. He was central to concerted efforts by the Board and Management that saw KQ overcome extreme challenges faced then and thereafter, especially those posed by Covid-19, including the urgent, simultaneous need to tackle head-on entrenched costs and expenses while seeking to grow revenue, called for an especially strong, committed and focused Board."

"As a Board member and as Chair of the Board's Audit and Risk Committee, he was integral to KQ's ongoing transformation journey, deploying his financial sector and corporate executive expertise to help KQ navigate through several unprecedented crises, both internal and external, thereby helping ensure the airline remained on its transformational journey."

According to Joseph, Ngumi leaves at a pivotal moment for KQ having contributed immensely to the airline's improved operating performance, and to the strategic coherence now apparent in board discussions.

On his part, Ngumi expressed confidence in KQ's business, saying the tough work of stabilising the airline had started to bear fruits.

"My departure is motivated by my belief that now the tough work of stabilising KQ is starting to bear fruit, it is the right time for others to come in and build on the transformational platform that the Board and Management of KO have created. I remain a firm believer in KQ's strategic and economic importance to Kenya, and I am confident that before long Kenyans will also recognise that KQ is worthy and deserving of the critical and invaluable support it has received, and continues receiving, from the Kenya Government," Ngumi said.

Ngumi's exit comes at a time he is under probe over his role in the controversial acquisition of Telkom Kenya.

He recently claimed that he is wanted by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) over alleged theft of Ksh6 billion that the National Treasury paid to acquire a 60 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya.

The Executive Director of Eagle Africa Limited, who was an advisor to Jamhuri Holdings Limited, got paid 3,071,163 USD (Ksh415 million) in a period of five months, for acting as an advisor to Jamhuri in connection with the sale of Jamhuri's shares in Telkom.

He told parliament recently that he was paid the colossal amount of money "because I'm the best in business".

"I was paid because I am the best in business and I had already helped Helios revive a company that was on its deathbed. They valued my advice against taking legal action against the Government of Kenya. It wasn't me imposing a fee on them," Ngumi said.

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