24 June 2018

Ethiopia: Musician Assumes Post to Lead Tourism Organisation

Getnet Einyew, notable artist is expected to assume the CEO position

The Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) has finally acquired a musician as its new Deputy Chief Executive Officer after a series of controversies. Sertse Feresebehat, a 36-year old musician, was appointed as Deputy CEO by the Prime Minister on June 14, 2018. He will be replacing Yechale Mihret (PhD). Sertse, who was born in Debrelibanos, a monastery just north of Addis Abeba, obtained his bachelor's degree in Musical Art from Addis Abeba University's Yared School of Music. The new Deputy will also be serving as the Acting CEO of the Tourism Organization until a new head is assigned, according to Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff.

Sertse has previously served as the Vice President of the Ethiopian Musicians Association and was a judge in the television show, Ethiopian Idol. He is also one of the founding members of the 'Retrieve Ethio Big Band' with Feleke Hailu, another notable musician.

"I would have never accepted a position, which I don't believe in," said Sertse, "and I will resign if I fail to accomplish it."

"We are in the process of selecting a CEO candidate with a vast international experience in the tourism sector," Fitsum told Fortune.

However, sources close to the case affirm that Prime Minister Abiy is considering the 60-year old Getnet Einyew, a renowned playwright and poet who has served over 30 years at the Ethiopian National Theatre, as his potential candidate for the CEO post.

Fitsum denies this, stating "we are not sure who will be appointed to the post."

ETO is established to promote the nation's tourism industry and reports directly to the office of the Prime Minister. The organization's founding CEO was Solomon Tadesse, an expat from the United States. Later, he was replaced by Yohannes Tilahun, who was receiving a double salary from the government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which led to his sacking four months ago.

UNDP is planning to sit down and discuss with the Ministry of Culture & Tourism to find a resolution of the matter concerning Yohannes, according to Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia.

On June 19, 2018, former Chief Ombudswoman and current Minister of Culture & Tourism, Foziya Amin, noted that there would be structural and administrative reforms at the organization and that think-tank groups would be involved in the process.

Sertse's appointment is an excellent addition to the tourism industry, according to Kumneger Teketel, managing director of Ozzie Business & Management Consultancy who said, "it is a matured decision to bring people that know the sector with local context than searching for highly paid international paper holders."

Sertse says that he has already started undertaking tasks in his role as the Deputy CEO.

"I have already started writing some strategic plans," said Sertse.


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