The Board of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) announced on Thursday that it has appointed Fundi Sithebe as acting CEO while the process to recruit and appoint a permanent CEO is underway.
Sithebe has previously consulted at companies such as Deloitte and First Rand Africa and specialises in strategy formulation, research and analysis, project management and due diligence reviews.
Sithebe takes over from Bongiwe Mbomvu, who has been acting CEO since December 2018. The decision is in line ACSA's policy which limits acting appointments to a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months.
According to ACSA, Mbomvu ensured "continued stability of the business and a seamless integration between the company's management and the accounting authority".
Sithebe joined ACSA in March 2015 as chief of staff and was subsequently appointed to the role of chief operating officer in December 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Midrand University, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (Business Administration) from Wits Business School. She obtained her private pilot's license (PPL) from the Lanseria Flight Centre.
Fin24 reported in September that ACSA's profits fell by 58% in the year to end-March, due in part to a 50% rise in security costs.
ACSA said security costs rose due to regulatory requirements and heightened security measures implemented during the year. Furthermore, the weak South African economy affected passenger numbers and viability of some local airlines, thereby impacting revenue from commercial activities.
ACSA's revenue rose by almost 6% to R7.1bn and ACSA reduced its debt by R2.3bn to R6.6bn. More than R10.5bn had now been repaid over the past six years.
Fin24 also reported in April this year Sithebe as saying that ACSA needs a good balance between what it expects from airlines and what airlines expect from it.
In her view, ACSA's network has a good mix of large airports like OR Tambo in Johannesburg, as well as Cape Town International Airport and regional airports - working like "hubs and spokes".
For this reason, ACSA believes it must expand airport infrastructure in the country, but this must be done in the most cost-effective way.