A near on two–year positions hiatus, filled by acting appointments in Denel’s senior management team, has ended with the announcement of a chief financial officer and group company secretary, but the state-owned defence and technology conglomerate still has an acting chief executive.
Former chief executive, Riaz Saloojee, was placed on special leave in September 2015 along with the then chief financial officer Fikile Mhlontlo and group company secretary Elizabeth Africa. Their suspension followed the first meeting of the new Denel board, appointed by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown a few months earlier.
A Denel statement issued today said “two seasoned professionals have been appointed to fill key leadership positions and drive the company’s strategic direction during a new phase of growth”.
Odwa Mhlwana has been named chief financial officer after being acting since Mhlontlo’s suspension and subsequent dismissal. Similarly Vuyokazi Xaxa, who has been acting company secretary, has now had her appointment formalised.
Acting chief executive, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, added the Denel board approved its new strategy in June and the new leadership appointments will be “pivotal” in its implementation.
“They will help us to achieve our strategic objectives which are the building blocks of a ‘One Denel’ of the future,” he said.
Mhlwana held various positions in the banking sector and motor industry prior to his appointment as group finance director of what was BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA). This company was acquired by Denel in 2014 and renamed Denel Vehicle Systems. In September 2015, he moved to the Denel corporate headquarters as acting Group Chief Financial Officer.
“He has a wealth of leadership experience in the defence industry and contributed greatly toward stabilising Denel during a challenging period in the company’s history. We look forward to him driving an exciting new phase in the growth of our business,” Ntshepe said.
Xaxa, an admitted attorney, joined Denel in 2007 and was responsible for legal affairs at Denel Dynamics prior to her appointment as acting group secretary last year. She previously headed the legal department of the National Gambling Board and completed an executive leadership programme through the Henley Business School.
As company secretary and group legal counsel she will play a critical role in the management of board matters and provide strategic direction to the group’s legal professionals, Denel said. “We are confident she will ensure maintenance of a robust corporate governance regime at a time when state-owned companies are under close scrutiny in the country,” Ntshepe said of her appointment.