Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Airline Update:

Air Seychelles introduces new CEO

Cramer Ball has tended his resignation as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Seychelles; the national carrier announced at a press conference yesterday.  The announcement came with the introduction of his replacement, South African national Manoj Papa.

Mr. Ball joined Air Seychelles in the wake of the Etihad
Airways equity agreement that saw the national carrier bounce back from the brink of bankruptcy, and has been instrumental in the turnaround strategy that lead to the
announcement that the airline had posted over USD 1million profit in 2012, the first profit it in so many years.

Mr Ball has hinted that 2013 has been just as, if not more successful, in 2013, demonstrating his success in leading the airline into the future. The announcement, according to Mr. Ball, for 2013’s financial profit earnings will be made in the coming weeks. This adds to a long lists of milestones accomplished during Mr. Ball’s tenure, including the recent rating of Air Seychelles as a four-star airline by Skytrax – the first airline in the Indian Ocean to accomplish this and one of only two in the African region.
Speaking at the press conference, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles, Mr. Joël Morgan took the opportunity to thank Mr. Ball for his pivotal role in the turnaround of the airline.

“Cramer Ball has been instrumental in revitalising our national carrier, and setting the company on an exciting new path to growth,” said Minister. Morgan. “He led the airline into profitability in his first year of leadership and has rebuilt the foundations of this proud company, introducing new aircraft, new routes, new standards of service and new opportunities for the airline’s employees.”

“On behalf of government of Seychelles, Air Seychelles and its employees, and the people of Seychelles, I thank-you Mr. Ball for valuable contribution to the success of our national carrier,” added Minister Morgan.

When pressed for information on what would be his next career opportunity, Mr. Ball stated that he was not yet at liberty to say but would make the information available in the coming weeks. This comes in a wake of international reports speculating that Mr. Ball may replace Jet Airways CEO Garry Kenneth. In a similar deal to its relationship with Air Seychelles, Etihad Airways recently secured a 24% stake in Jet Airways, India’s largest listed airline.

For now it is unclear where Mr. Ball is headed, but he did take the opportunity to express his gratitude and pride to have been associated with Air Seychelles, going as far as to say that Seychelles will always “hold a special place in [his] heart,” and that he will “continue to support Air Seychelles in his new role.” Adding that progress of Air Seychelles during his two-year tenure was a testament to the commitment of the employees and the support and trust of the government.
“We have not only turned around the airline, but we have created the foundations for a very bright future for our staff and future generations of Seychellois,” stated Mr. Ball. “I will be forever grateful for the warm welcome, support and friendship shown to me by the people of Seychelles.”
“I would also like to recognise the incredible vision by President Michel for laying the foundations of Air Seychelles, and the unwavering support, commitment, and foresight of my Chairman, Joël Morgan, in working with me and my team to turn around Air Seychelles and create a strong business with a bright future,” added Mr. Ball.

Replacing Mr. Ball is Mr. Manoj Papa, who has more than 15 years experience in the airline industry in key commercial and strategic roles. For the past two years, Mr. Papa has been acting General Manager Commercial for South African Airways, overseeing that airline’s entire commercial portfolio. As part of his role, he was instrumental in developing that airline’s “Long Term Turnaround Strategy.”

Mr. Papa also has a historic relationship with Etihad Airways having spent five and a half years as Vice President of Corporate Strategy, designing and implementing strategic initiatives across the business. Prior to that Mr. Papa was Etihad’s Head of Finance Support.

Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Papa offered his gratitude for the opportunity to work with Air Seychelles and stated that he look forward to continuing in the work that has already been done in leading the Airline into a prosperous future.

Mr. Ball will stay on as CEO until the end of February to ensure a seamless handover when Mr. Papa officially assumes the position of Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer as of the 1 March 2014. 

(This article, by Niki Gower, originally appeared in the TODAY (in Seychelles) newspaper on the 29/01/2014   |

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