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Muradzikwa not good material for CEO role

By G Mpofu

THE appointment of Henry Muradzikwa as chief executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) has been met with silence in the privately-owned media except for a letter “Corporate incest at state media houses”,

(Zimbabwe Independent, October 20).

The only other reference in the state-owned daily provided nothing more than reportage of the appointment. Muradzikwa’s role can be described as being responsible for the finances of the corporation, the overriding management of divisions and staff and the ZBH’s public image, and its relations with those in government.

Muradzikwa is a journalist by profession and will therefore find it difficult to exercise his authority as CEO.

It does not matter that he has held senior positions in other media houses. Instead, he should have been appointed Newsnet editor-in-chief. His familiar and comfortable territory will be the broadcasting of news and current affairs, an area where he will obviously easily interfere with the authority of the editor-in-chief.

He is likely to be phoned by the authorities about what should be broadcast by ZTV and Newsnet rather than the financial state of ZBH or the strategic manner in which it should be run as an institution.

The relevant ministry should have appointed a manager or administrator in the technical sense, someone with an accounting/marketing/economics background as a first degree and a masters degree in management and relevant experience as a senior executive.

Another mistake has been committed. The previous CEOs, executive chairmen or director-generals (as previously referred to) have been persons of journalistic training yet their day-to-day activities involved dealing with structures, finances, marketers/advertisers, licensing and ordinary management activities.

A media house would do well administratively if its CEO is a seasoned professional manager.

Relatedly, ministers in Zimbabwe are busy micro-managing state-owned institutions under them. They have failed to work through the board of directors they appoint. Much of what they spend time saying or doing should be done either by the board of directors or the CEOs.

If the board of directors and the CEOs are not capable of performing adequately, one wonders why they were appointed or kept in their positions.

* G Mpofu writes from Harare.

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