South Africa‘s Mango Airlines has rehired Nico Bezuidenhout as chief executive to speed up its recovery plan, turning to an executive who led the business for nearly a decade and recently steered Africa‘s Fastjet back from a financial crisis.

"I am dumbfounded by the libellous statements made by the BMF president about my character. I did not draft the job specs for the Mango CEO position. I assume that job has been vacant for three years, so there has been ample opportunity to recruit someone (else)," says Bezuidenhout.


When Bezuidenhout's appointment was announced recently, It was reported that the Black Management Forum (BMF) objected to a white male being appointed. It also raised the issue of Bezuidenhout's qualifications.



As in the past, Bezuidenhout said that both the boards of Mango as well as SAA had repeatedly indicated that at no time had they been misled about his qualifications.
Asked about what he experienced while acting as CEO at SAA, Bezuidenhout says he is glad of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture and he expects to be called to testify there as well in due course. However, he adds, some of the controversial deals already mentioned before the commission, took place after he left as acting SAA CEO

South African Airways (SAA), the parent of low-cost carrier Mango, has not made a profit since 2011 and said last month it needed R4 billion ($282 million) from the government to survive the current financial year.


Bezuidenhout will take up the top job at Mango in October. The 42-year-old South African previously held the post for nearly a decade until 2016, when he joined Fastjet following tensions between the then-CEO and No.2 shareholder, easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

"Fastjet is currently the dominant carrier in Zimbabwe. I learnt a lot from the business and about African markets and my relationship with the company remains a good one," says Bezuidenhout.


He has been in aviation since about 2001, first working at South African Airways (SAA) before assuming the position of founding CEO at Mango.



Mango 'helped more people fly'

He adds that he does not understand why the BMF, on the one hand, objects to the appointment of a white male at Mango, while also releasing a statement earlier in June, urging black professionals not to apply for leadership positions at SA's state-owned entities on the basis that government interference at these companies was setting black leaders up for failure.

BY: Bradley Brizzy

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