State-owned defence industrial group Denel announced on May 15 that its group CEO, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, had resigned with effect from that day. He was appointed group CEO only six months ago, following two years in which he had been acting in that capacity. Ntshepe had been with Denel for 20 years. He stated that his resignation was for personal reasons. Recently appointed board chairperson Monhla Hlahla expressed the board’s thanks to him for his contribution to Denel.
“Ms Hlahla further wishes to assure employees, suppliers, customers and all stakeholders that the board is focused on a turnaround that will deal with the current liquidity and performance issues in the company,” stated the Denel press release. Denel Aeronautics CEO Michael Kgobe has been appointed acting group CEO.
Kgobe holds a master’s degree in aeronautical production and maintenance from Toulouse, in France. He has also successfully undertaken the Henley Business School executive development programme and the University of South Africa executive leadership programme. He has been with Denel for some 18 years, becoming CEO of Denel Aviation in 2010. He was credited with successfully turning around and diversifying the business, growing it rapidly and making it one of the best-performing divisions in the group.
In 2016, he was given the job of merging Denel Aviation and Denel Aerostructures into a single entity, the current Denel Aeronautics. The result is a business with 952 employees and consolidated 2016/17 revenues of R1.6-billion.
The Solidarity trade union swiftly welcomed Ntshepe’s resignation. It also expressed its support for Hlahla, complimenting her for the changes she had already made at the State-owned defence industrial group.
“This resignation follows constant pressure by the trade union against Ntshepe and other corrupt management in Denel,” asserted Solidarity deputy general secretary Deon Reyneke. “Solidarity won’t hesitate to uncover other corrupt persons in management positions. Corrupt persons in Denel won’t be able to sleep peacefully at night any more.”