5 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Air Zim Hunts for New COO

Photo: The Herald
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National airliner, Air Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, is hunting for a new chief operating officer (COO) to replace Simba Chikore, who resigned from November 1.

Mr Chikore, who joined Air Zimbabwe on October 5, 2016, left the parastatal to negotiate the coming in of Zimbabwe Airways. Zimbabwe Airways is a new airline owned largely by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora through an investment vehicle called Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company.

Once the negotiations to bring in the new airline succeed, Zimbabwe Airways can recruit Mr Chikore, if it believes he can help the company attain its objectives and fulfill its vision. Yesterday, Air Zimbabwe said it was looking for a new COO, and the candidate should possess "aviation industry professional qualifications".

The person to replace Mr Chikore should also have "10 years recent and direct relevant experience in the airline industry" and "conversant with Caaz (Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe) and ESA regulatory framework".

Other requisites for the job include a "proven record of five years successful operational management experience in one or more of these specific areas: flight operations, commercial planning, regulatory compliance, ground".

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo, told The Herald Business last week that Mr Chikore left Air Zimbabwe amicably after giving three months' notice.

"(Mr) Simba (Chikore) resigned in September and the fact that he has been working up to November is because he had given three months' notice. Effectively, he resigned from November 1 because by that time, his involvement in negotiating the Zimbabwe Airways deal was affecting his functions at Air Zimbabwe," said Dr Gumbo.

He added that Mr Chikore became part of the negotiations for the Zimbabwe Airways project since it was initiated by the Transport ministry.

"It is not only (Mr) Simba (Chikore) who was part of the negotiations, but there are other Air Zimbabwe employees such as engineers and others who have also been assisting from Caaz (Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe), and so forth. But I had made him the chief negotiator because of his expertise in the aviation industry.

"I then agreed that since he was having problems assisting Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company to negotiate and also with Air Zimbabwe, he should focus on one thing. So he resigned well in time, and what is wrong with that? I actually asked him to assist Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company and they can make their own considerations to give him a job when everything is set," said Dr Gumbo.

Apart from the COO, Air Zimbabwe is also looking to employ a captain, communications officer, programmer, systems analyst and database administrator. Applications to fill in the vacancies are wanted by December 8. It could not be established when the airline would replace its CEO, Captain Ripton Muzenda, who was sacked recently.

Cpt Muzenda was sacked for allegedly failing to implement programmes proposed by the Air Zimbabwe board such as retrenching almost 300 employees to reduce operating costs. Dr Gumbo said there was nothing amiss in having employees sacked for poor performance, adding that Air Zimbabwe will soon replace Cpt Muzenda.

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