Source: Engineering News South Africa
The new group CEO (GCEO) for the State-owned Denel defence industrial company will be businessman and retired South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Brigadier General Riaz Saloojee, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced at the Denel corporate head office in Centurion south of Pretoria, on Wednesday.
« Saloojee’s key mandate is to ensure the company’s long-term viability and sustainability » said Gigaba.
He highlighted that the new GCEO needed, in particular, to bring to a successful conclusion the turnaround of Denel Saab Aerostructures, the only one of Denel’s four industrial clusters that is still making a loss.
In addition, the Minister stated that Saloojee would have to concentrate on international sales and marketing, even though the « environment is not conducive » with many countries cutting defence spending due to the international economic crisis. Furthermore, he would have to align the group with the Defence Review that is currently under way.
« It gives me great, great pleasure and it’s an honour … appointing me to this position, » affirmed Saloojee.
« Denel has many challenges still. » He cited the need to enhance the group’s position within the economy, both locally and internationally. « How do we commercially enhance its position at the moment? I’m really looking forward to the challenge. »
« The State needs to continue to support Denel in a variety of ways, including morally, » asserted Gigaba.
« Denel is a key player in the development of South Africa’s advanced manufacturing, industrial and technology base. »
Saloojee served in the African National Congress’ armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, until 1994, when he joined the SANDF as a Colonel, being promoted to Brigadier General in 1998. In 2000, he entered the private sector and became a senior executive in the defence industry. From 2002, he was with Grintek, Saab Grintek and Saab South Africa, in 2008 becoming CEO of Saab South Africa (as well as acting CEO of Saab Grintek Technologies).
Gigaba hailed Saloojee for « his strong execution skills, his proven ability to lead top performing teams and his track record in driving shareholder value. Riaz [Saloojee] has the right industry experience and leadership skills to take Denel to the next level. »
Saloojee will take up his new position in mid-January.
The Minister also praised outgoing Denel GCEO Talib Sadik. « I want to say to Talib – you can be proud of your achievements. You are leaving behind a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was when you took up the position of GCEO. Yours is a proud legacy of commitment to Denel and its future. »
« It’s been a fantastic journey [at Denel], » responded Sadik. « The Denel Group comprises 12 entities … [in] four industrial clusters, all of which have turned around and three of which are sustainable. We operate in 50 countries, of which 30 are in Africa. Our order pipeline is looking healthy, as are our secured orders. I think it [Denel] is moving from sustainability to growth. »
By Keith Campbell