Kaapanda backs Kanime

26 September 2014 Author  

Front Naapanda 26 sepTELECOM Namibia’s Chief Human Resource Officer Andrew Kanime has reportedly emerged as the frontrunner to take over the top job at the state-owned telecommunications company from incumbent Managing Director Frans Ndoroma.

Inside sources at the company say Kanime is not only the preferred candidate of the line Minister Joel Kaapanda, but also one of the three short-listed candidates for the job.

Reliable sources indicated that Kanime along with Chief Strategy Officer Theo Klein and Chief Financial Officer Robert Offner make up the final three names the board will select from to find a suitable successor to take over from Ndoroma on 1 November 2014.

Sources say the board of directors at the state-owned telecommunications firm had pushed for Klein, whom they felt was not only the strongest candidate, but also one who had worked closest with Ndoroma over the years.

The strong difference in opinion between the board and the line minister has apparently been ongoing for some weeks now, and as time has passed, the stalemate has become a concern at the parastatal.

The search for Ndoroma’s successor began in June this year, but with only five weeks to go before Ndoroma’s exit, Kaapanda has yet to present the name of the board’s recommendation to Cabinet for approval.

Bearing in mind that the company expects the new MD to spend a transition period working alongside Ndoroma before he calls it quits, Telecom has left itself with very little time.

In a brief telephonic interview on Tuesday, Kaapanda refused to comment on what he termed rumours and mere speculation.

“I am a friend of the media and always make myself available, but this time I decline to comment as I feel this is premature and unwarranted,” Kaapanda said.

The Chairperson of the Telecom board Catherine Beukes-Amis said she could not confirm if the company had short-listed three senior managers because they had not concluded the process.

“We have not even met with the minister yet to discuss the candidates with him and make a final recommendation, therefore it would be rather awkward for the board to comment at this stage,” she said.

The board chairperson, however, gave the assurance that they had entered the final stages of the process and that an official announcement would be made even as early as next week.

“It is only fair that the board follows due diligence and once a decision has been made, before it is made public, the short-listed candidates would have to be informed first,” Beukes-Amis said.

She further dismissed the notion that there is an ongoing struggle between the board and the line minister about whom they consider the most suitable candidate to take over the reins after Ndoroma’s twelve-year tenure.

The close working relationship between the minister and Kanime can be traced as far back as 2009 when the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) fired its then Director General Bob Kandetu.

At the time, Kaapanda sent Kanime from Telecom to serve as acting DG, where he remained in an acting capacity for some time.

In an interview with the Windhoek Observer last year Kaapanda said he considered it crucial to appoint someone who not only had the necessary skills and professional background to the Telecom job, but also someone with strong leadership qualities.

“Telecom needs someone who will come in with a vision for the company, and who also has an understanding of the global trends within the ICT sector. It must be the right person to lead,” Kaapanda said last year.

Industry experts have emphasised that until Telecom employs and retains top IT talent, it will never successfully compete with MTC.

Telecom Namibia under the leadership of Ndoroma made a number of questionable and disastrous investments, notably in Angola and South Africa.

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