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SAA announces new CEO

JOHANNESBURG. 24 February 2010

South African Airways (SAA) today announced the appointment of Ms Siza Mzimela as its new CEO.

Ms Mzimela will take up the position as new CEO of the airline from March and is the airline’s very first female in this position.

Ms Mzimela, is presently the CEO of SAA’s domestic partner airline, SA Express (SAX).

As the new CEO of SAA she brings extensive airline experience to the company and previously filled senior positions in key areas at South African Airways.

"We warmly welcome Ms Mzimela as the new CEO of SAA following an extensive and thorough process to find a suitable candidate for this position. In fact, we welcome her back to the SAA family.

"With her extensive experience in the airline industry, and especially her knowledge of the inner workings of SAA, she is the ideal candidate to fulfill the mandate of SAA to be an African airline with global reach," says Cheryl Carolus, SAA chairperson.

Carolus also thanked the present Acting CEO, Mr Chris Smyth, for the outstanding work he has done over the past year.

Mzimela has a sterling track record as the CEO of SAX, which she joined in 2003 and she is highly regarded in the aviation industry. Under her leadership, the regional airline has grown in leaps and bounds, introducing a number of new routes and recently starting a new airline, Congo Express in the DRC. In 2009, SAX declared a net profit of approximately R235,4m under very difficult economic circumstances. Notwithstanding these difficulties facing the airline industry and business as a whole, SAX continues its profitability and remains financially sound. The airline also recently re-launched its new brand proposition "We Fly For You" which is set to position SA Express as a premier intra-regional African brand.

After she graduated with a degree in economics and statistics, Mzimela's first job was in the small business and retail division of Standard Bank in 1991.

Three years later she joined Total SA as a corporate planning analyst responsible for managing capital projects, before joining SA Airways (SAA) in 1996 as a research analyst.

After various promotions at SAA, Mzimela was appointed executive vice-president of global passenger services in 2001/2, later taking on responsibility for the airline’s core business global sales and the airline's loyalty programme, Voyager in 2002/3.

She was involved in setting overall strategic direction for the sales and Voyager team and in actively managing and reducing costs. She was also responsible for the strategic positioning of SAA and for optimising alliance partnerships. She is also a board member of SA Tourism and was the Chairperson of the Airlines Association of South Africa for two years. In 2002, she was a finalist in the Nedbank Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Mzimela is a leader with substantial hands-on experience and whose positive attitude, strong negotiation skills and business acumen have helped her scale many heights. Her personal philosophy and values have led her to succeed, inspire and lead others.

Issued by SAA Group Corporate Affairs