February 27, 2024

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Novick quits due to lack of transparency about SAA deal

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RYK VAN NIEKERK: Gidon Novick resigned from the board of the Takatso Consortium yesterday [Monday]. This is the consortium that is established to obtain 51% of South African Airways.

Now, Novick is a legend in the South African aviation sector. He was the [joint] CEO of Comair for a lot of yrs, and he was also the founder of Kulula.com. He is also the founder of Raise airline, which is now functioning in South Africa, and he was once also destined to come to be the CEO of SAA. Novick represented minority shareholders on the Takatso board, most notably World Aviation. The the vast majority shareholder is Harith General Companions.

Gidon, thank you so significantly for signing up for me now. Why did you resign?

GIDON NOVICK: In brief, I definitely experienced no obtain to info around the consortium. What’s going on with the deal – which lots of people are inquiring, not just me. Has the funds been elevated for the offer to go ahead? What are the roles and tasks of the several functions heading ahead? It was just actually a black gap in phrases of any visibility [around] what is likely on in the consortium. And as a director of a organization a single demands to know what is heading on.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: But why were being you not informed of what is happening and what the challenges are, for the reason that I presume you would have regular board conferences and other directors should really have raised the exact problems?

GIDON NOVICK: Of course, no conferences [took place], even just after requests for meetings, and [there was] no details even following quite a few requests for info.

It is an regrettable problem when 1 joins an entity in good religion, and has an aspiration to create a little something very special in South Africa, which sorely requires some fantastic news and community and personal partnerships working properly. It was all great intent.

We stay as shareholders of the consortium and we’ll maintain on to our shares, and ideally something will arrive of it. But one cannot have the fiduciary obligation that will come with remaining a director of a corporation if you really don’t have accessibility to data.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: That is a quite attention-grabbing assertion. Did you resign in your private ability, or as a consultant of the minority shareholders – in this circumstance World wide Aviation?

GIDON NOVICK: Board directorship is a personalized matter. One particular has a fiduciary accountability, as you very well know, to the stakeholders of that corporation. Alongside that we are shareholders in the consortium, and that will continue being – both equally World wide Aviation, our companions in Lift, and our individual airline administration corporation.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: Will the minority shareholders swap you with another consultant on the board?

GIDON NOVICK: No. I consider that’s not likely, and undoubtedly offered the experience that I have experienced I do not think it would be an pleasing prospect to be on a board without the need of actually remaining consulted on what’s heading on.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: There has been mention manufactured – and this will come from Harith as very well as the Minister of Community Enterprises Pravin Gordhan – that there is a conflict because you are concerned with Lift and sensitive info from SAA could put you in a competitively advantaged place.

Do you assume there is a conflict of fascination, and that is why the data was withheld from you?

GIDON NOVICK: Very well to start with my Elevate involvement was there from the start, so it’s nothing new. Secondly, the details that I would’ve demanded as a director was information and facts as to the development of the transaction. Is this transaction likely ahead? What are the hurdles? Has the money been elevated, and what are the roles and responsibilities? So nothing to do at all with anything commercially sensitive to SAA and we surely never ever would’ve asked for that data, nor do we basically want to see that info. I imagine that distinction desires to be produced quite clearly.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: Takatso demands to increase R3 billion to commit in SAA more than a interval of time. Is there a dilemma boosting this income?

GIDON NOVICK: Fantastic concern.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: Surely it shouldn’t be that tough to give a certainly or a no?

GIDON NOVICK: [Laughing] I would like I could give you a indeed or no. I never know.

Aspect of the challenge, Ryk, is simple issues like: Do we have funding as a consortium? Have we elevated the funding? Have we received the committed funding? [These are things] just one desires to know.

If you are a director of a organization, you want to know that the company’s received the important cash to supply on what it has promised, and I really do not know the answer to that query.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: One particular of the other disorders for the deal is that authorities demands to spend off all SAA’s remaining personal debt, and that amounts to all over R3.5 billion. But the existing Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana did not make an allocation for this sum in his latest Medium-Time period Budget Plan Assertion. Are there considerations that authorities won’t spend off that debt?

GIDON NOVICK: All over again, Ryk, I’m in the darkish. I go through what you read. I did see that definitely there was no revenue allotted. What does that mean in terms of the offer? Again, a question regarding the long term funding and a concern that I would’ve beloved to have [had] answered by the functions that are close to the transaction.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: That implies the complete breakdown of trust between partners within just the Takatso Consortium. So what does that mean for this potential SAA deal?

GIDON NOVICK: I really do not know the response to that. All I can say is that we bought concerned in this thing with an intention to do a little something very unique in the state, applying abilities that exist in the nation in this particular market. We have extraordinary skills, we have amazing talent, we have outstanding professionals, we have unbelievable buyer-company personnel to construct a excellent airline.

We really don’t have to have to go internationally to uncover expertise, to discover people to come and operate organisations in this region. I definitely never believe that that – and unquestionably not in the airline field.

We keep on being dedicated, we have provided our help even put up this resignation.

We’ve offered to be of guidance anywhere we can. We have had discussions with SAA right in terms of how we could cooperate with them and how we could guide them and how they could guide us. So those people will proceed – and how that unfolds I guess time will convey to.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: So what you are expressing is that you, as a representative of World Aviation, have resigned for the reason that there is a absence of communication. But next your resignation, the minority shareholders will continue being on board and keep fully commited to make this offer take place. That does not sound like a healthful problem.

GIDON NOVICK: We’re minority shareholders. We put in a good deal of time and work and vitality into this transaction, as you know.

For that we received an preliminary stake in the company. That will remain.

In conditions of any lively involvement in the choice making of the firm and the path of the business, we will not have any [say] simply because we are not represented on the board any more time and we will be bystanders in phrases of that procedure.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: Was it an solution to stroll away?

GIDON NOVICK: Well, what does ‘walk away’ mean? Walk away from a duty most absolutely, simply because a single was not equipped to discharge that accountability adequately with out facts. Walk away from a shareholding? I really do not believe any one in their appropriate intellect would give up a shareholding of one thing that could have price in the foreseeable future. Who is aware of if it will, but it may well very well have benefit in the potential. So there’s no cause to give up these shares.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: Just from your viewpoint, SAA has been traveling now for a even though, even though the deal has not been signed yet and there are a number of regulatory approvals that nevertheless will need to be acquired for the deal to go ahead, in addition to the R3 billion that wants to be raised. What are your impressions of the SAA functions at the moment? Do you think they are performing a fantastic occupation?

GIDON NOVICK: I see what you see. We do communicate to them. I believe they’ve received some extremely qualified individuals there, and I assume in lots of respects they have finished a superior career. I really flew with them recently and had a incredibly very good knowledge. So difficult to inform financially simply because, yet again, we do not have and do not truly want to obtain any of that financial information. But of course, they are up and operating. They are fairly tiny, but SAA is traveling.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: You had been once destined to be the CEO of SAA. Now of course matters have long gone quite, really pear-shaped. How are you emotion with the way items have transpired now?

GIDON NOVICK: Properly, I was in no way offered that career, and even if I was I most probable wouldn’t consider it. I’m not the ideal CEO in the entire world, by any signifies. I have acquired some encounter and some value to incorporate – but I don’t believe that as a chief executive of a firm. So I do not know in which that went to, and I’m definitely not dissatisfied if that prospect is much more distant.

RYK VAN NIEKERK: That was Gidon Novick. He resigned from the board of the Takatso Consortium [on Monday].