State arsenal Denel has appointed Riaz Saloojee as new group CE. Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba made the announcement this morning. He joins the company from SAAB SA where he was CE.
“Riaz has the right industry experience and skills to take Denel to the next level,” Gigaba told reporters at Denel’s head office in Irene, Pretoria. Saloojee takes over from Talib Sadik, whose stewardship saw Denel make a profit for the first time since 1997 in the financial year to March 2011.
Sadik’s five-year stint ends on December 31 and Salojee’s appointment becomes effective in mid-January. Gigaba could not say what the duration of the contract would be, saying the matter was still being negotiated.
Saloojee has headed various defence organisations including SAAB SA (2008), Grintek Integrated Defence Systems (2002), Metatek (2001) and Tau Aerospace (2000). He was a group executive at SAAB Grintek Defence in 2006 and Vice President of SAAB International (sub-Saharan Africa) from 2007. He was also acting CE of SAAB Grintek Technologies.
After completing matric in 1980, Saloojee joined the ANC’s armed wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe where he held various positions in Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. In 1994, he was appointed a colonel in the South African Air Force. He as promoted to brigadier general in 1998.
Gigaba said Saloojee’s mandate was to ensure Denel’s sustainability and viability.
Saloojee was also expected to win more international business for Denel as well as ensuring alignment between Denel and the military. “He needs to pull his charm to win… the confidence of the Department of Defence as the most critical customer that Denel should have,” Gigaba said.
Denel chairman Zoli Kunene said Saloojee “brings a wealth of experience in the defence and manufacturing sectors and a solid career track record that will be major assets to the Denel group. … I am confident that you will join me in welcoming Mr Saloojee to his position and wishing him every success in his new role. We look forward to all of us supporting him considering the challenges that face Denel.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the outgoing GCE, Talib Sadik for providing leadership and guidance during Denel’s turn-around phase. The company is turning around to sustainability; this was reflected in our annual financial results released in July,” Kunene said.