New Air Nam MD gets 1year contract
State owned National Carrier, Air Namibia Board Chairperson Gerson Tjihenuna has revealed that newly appointed Acting Managing Director Advocate Mandi Samson will serve for a year.
Tjihenuna said Samson will have to relinquish her position in the event that a permanent MD is hired.
He added that the board consulted the Department of Civil Aviation in terms of hiring Samson as the new acting MD.
“My understanding is that when appointing someone to act in the position, they must meet the aviation requirements and compliance and Samson has met those requirements,” Tjihenuna said.
Samson will be replacing the current MD and Chief Operations Officer, Rene Gsponer whose contract has come to an end.
Gsponer has been the acting MD for the past two years at the airliner after the former MD Theo Namases was suspended and afterwards her contract terminated.
Samson took the office last week Wednesday and will be in the position until the board finds a suitable candidate.
Samson holds a B. Juris degree from the University of Namibia, an LLB honours from the University of Cape Town, a master of law in International Air and Space law (LLM) Cum laude from the Leiden University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Commonwealth Open University and she is currently completing a doctorate in Philosophy in Air Transport with the Leiden University.
She also previously served in the office of the Attorney-General of Namibia and gave advisory services as a member of the Committee negotiating the Bilateral Air Service Agreements.
Later on she worked as the General Manager of Corporate and Legal Services at the Namibia Airports Company (NAC).
Samson also served as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Government Institutions Pensions Fund (GIPF) and was previously a Commissioner of the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC).
Besides mentioning a few of her achievements, Tjihenuna said in the area of aviation, Samson assisted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in developing and drafting the Common Regulations of Competition of Air Transport Services within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Arica (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“She also assisted SADC on the drawing up of the Guidelines, Provisions and Procedures for the Implementation of Air Transport Competition within Comesa, EAC and SADC. More recently, Adv. Samson was the consultant to the African Union tasked with drafting the Regulations of Competition for Air Transport in Africa and Arbitration Procedures,” Tjihenuna added.
Tjihenuna on behalf of the board assured the public that Samson has the ability to lead Air Namibia during the period intended to and the board will provide her with the full support in that regard.
“On behalf of the board of Directors and Air Namibia staff, I would like to thank the previous Board for the work done during the last three years. We also thank Ms. Theo Namases the previous MD of Air Namibia for steering Air Namibia to greater heights during her tenure, as well as, Mr. Rene Gsponer in taking care of the Company as acting MD during the past year,” he said.
When queried whether there will be a conflict of interest in terms Samson serving on various boards and being the acting MD of the airliner, Tjihenuna said the board does not see any problem with it as long as she can deliver her part.
Meanwhile, Samson said she will continue to serve on the various boards because she is not the executive chairperson on this boards.
She added that it is an honour for her to serve as the MD for the airliner until a permanent solution has been found.
“Of course I have so many things to look at but I would first like to ensure that the compliance is up to scratch because it is not a good thing to know that our compliance is not up to standard especially if you are reading it in the papers,” Samson said.