The new head of Kenya's troubled national carrier has hired 6 Polish executives—and the airline's staff are worried

In an email to staff, Mr Mikosz announced that the five expatriates were hired from his former employer, LOT Polish Airlines, effective September 1.

A shake-up of senior management at Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, is looming after it emerged that chief executive Sebastian Mikosz has hired five new executives from Poland.

In an email to staff, Mr Mikosz announced that the five expatriates were hired from his former employer, LOT Polish Airlines, effective September 1. They include Monika Kietyka-Michna, Edyta Kijewska-Teny, Magdalena Serwach, Marcin Celejewski and Micha Mierciak.

The Business Daily reports that the decision has already caused tension among workers who see it as a move aimed at ousting individuals hired under the leadership of former CEOs Titus Naikuni and Mbuvi Ngunze under whose watch the airline nosedived to near bankruptcy.

The email stated that the new executives came as part of a restructuring plan that seeks to return the airline to profitability even though their jobs are yet to be specified.

“As Kenya Airways is finalising the restructuring process and is about to embark on its mission to profitability, I decided to strengthen the Transformation Office with a team of airline professionals who have accomplished similar goals before,” Mr Mikosz says in the email, adding that the new team will report directly to him.

The team has further been tasked with implementing key objectives throughout the company, including creating, driving and guarding cohesion of KQ strategy.

Management experts have warned that Mr Mikosz’ decision of taking on board such a large number of expatriates in senior positions that early in his tenure could be counter-productive.

Mikosz however says the five are experts in airline management adding that their experience is necessary for Kenya Airways in the short term.

“The reason why they came is because I have worked with them before and I know the expertise and experience they bring. They are here for three months but I don’t know if they will stay longer or not,” he said.

The emerging power shift has reportedly led to the departure of at least three senior KQ managers.

Sebastian Mikosz was appointed Kenya Airways CEO in May this year in a bid to steer the airline back to profitability after years of massive losses.

Mr Mikosz, who established his turnaround credentials during his stint as President of LOT Polish Airlines, is betting on KQ’s recent debt restructure to buy him time to get the airline back on its feet.

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