Sentech’s board has nominated a new CEO to lead the troubled stated-owned company. But it will only be a position to name the individual it has chosen once cabinet has approved his appointment, probably later this month.
Nyanda will now discuss the matter with his cabinet colleagues. The candidate’s appointment should be ratified before the end of October, Patel says.
Patel won’t name the candidate, but says he has confidence in the individual’s ability to lead a turnaround of the troubled broadcasting signal distributor. The candidate does not currently work for Sentech.
The appointment of a new CEO follows the early retirement — she was told to go, sources say — of former CEO Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane. Other senior Sentech executives were purged, including acting CEO Beverley Ngwenya and chief financial officer Mohammed Cassim, both of whom left under a cloud.
Sentech is in desperate need of new leadership. For now, Patel, who is meant to be nonexecutive, has taken on an operational role until new management has been appointed.
The company is busy with a number of crucial technology projects, not least of which is the migration of terrestrial television broadcasts from analogue to digital. And, as TechCentral revealed on Friday, it wants to revive plans to build a national broadband wireless network.
Patel, who is due to present Sentech’s turnaround strategy to parliament on Wednesday, says the company has put the worst of its problems behind it. “We have stabilised the business,” he says. Operational cash flow improvements mean Sentech will no longer have to go to government for a bailout.
But Patel admits the company still has big challenges, and needs to shut down its poorly performing businesses.
Also, the ratio of headcount to revenue is “exorbitant”.
“We are paying 35% of our costs to headcount. We are overstaffed and I don’t have the cash to retrench, so I’m not filling any vacancies except in key positions.” — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral