Ethiopian Airlines Replaces Board Chair With Air Force Commander


Ethiopian Airlines has shuffled its Board, replacing Chairman Ato Girma Wake with Lt-Gen Yilma Merdasa, the Commander of the country’s Air force.

The veteran aviation executive, Mr. Girma himself confirmed his departure to a local paper, The Reporter.

He however refused to elaborate on the circumstances surrounding his exit from the company.

The replacement went effective as of last Thursday 08 June, according to sources.

The decision, sources told The East African, came after a Board meeting last week to review the company’s strategy.

The Airline itself did not immediately announce the decision reached on Saturday.

But a source confirmed the changes, indicating the announcement will be made later.

“Yes, Mr Girma Wake has been succeeded by HE Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa, the Commander of the Air force as Ethiopian Airlines Board Chairman,” the source indicated, opting to remain anonymous until the shuffle is formally declared.

Reasons behind his departure remains unclear. Federal authorities are yet to reveal the reason for his departure.

Girma, 79, one of the first Ethiopians to manage the airline rose through the ranks to serve as CEO between 2004 and 2011.

Girma recognized as the “father of the African aviation industry” is credited with being the driver that put Ethiopian on the path to become the continent’s largest carrier.

Previously, Girma has also served as the board chairman of Rwanda Air and adviser to the Minister of Transport in Rwanda.

But returned to Ethiopia in 2018 to join the Ethiopian Airlines board and became board chairman in April 2022.

Ethiopian, the largest airline in Africa by route size, and passenger numbers, is recently transitioning from the leadership of former CEO Tewolde GebreMariam who resigned last year, in what the Ethiopian Airlines said was an “early retirement”

Mr. Tewolde who left the company citing ill health, after serving from 2011 was replaced by Mesfin Tasew, a former Chief Operations Officer.

The Ethiopian has won multiple awards under Tewolde Gebremariam’s leadership.

(The East African Daily)

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