HomeBusiness DigestZTA CEO race hots up. . . aspirants trimmed to three as...

ZTA CEO race hots up. . . aspirants trimmed to three as thirty-nine fall by

SHAME MAKOSHORI
THIRTY-NINE tourism executives who threw their hats into the ring to replace former Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke have flopped in the past few weeks, as recruiters whittled the number to three, businessdigest can report.

Names of the final three could not be established this week.

However, ZTA chairman, Ray Mawerera confirmed that the names were forwarded to the government, where “due processes” were underway.

“The appointment of a substantive CEO for ZTA is imminent,” Mawerera told businessdigest on Thursday.

“We will make an announcement as soon as due processes, which are critical for an appointment of this nature, have been finalised.

It would not be prudent at this stage to pre-empt these processes but the interviews were completed.

We received 42 applications,” he added.
“As you know, ZTA CEOs were (previously) appointed (by the government).

But this time we had a rigorous recruitment and selection process.

We came up with a shortlist of three candidates. We have recommended that these are the three candidates that we can work with and they are going through due processes,” the ZTA boss told businessdigest.

Appointees to strategic State institutions undergo rigorous vetting processes, including by security agencies, before they earn a greenlight to take charge.

The candidate to win the right to lead ZTA in the next few weeks or months replaces Kaseke who assumed the difficult task of rebuilding Zimbabwe’s battered image in 2005, after being seconded from the Ministry of Transport.

Strong on generating massive crowds for powerful domestic tourism campaigns, Kaseke bowed out on ill health last year, bringing an end to a vexing phase for Zimbabwean tourism, which was highlighted by failures in richer western source markets, and a semblance of success in Asian markets, where big numbers troop in but spend less.

A list of the final nine candidates obtained by businessdigest this week showed that George Manyumwa, a former Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) executive who has moved to Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management as deputy director, was among high fliers.

Godfrey Pasipanodya, a former commercial director at RTG, also made it to the final nine.
Pasipanodya, who was once linked to take over as Air Zimbabwe CEO during his tenure at the airline’s board, is now chief operating officer at Hospitality and Tourism Investments Group.

The final nine list was decorated with some of Zimbabwe’s biggest leisure sector names, demonstrating that the selection process conducted at the four star Monomotapa Hotel in October, could have been strenuous.

Givemore Chidzidzi, one of Zimbabwean tourism’s brightest brains who has been holding forte since government retired Kaseke in August, made it to the final nine together with David Kanyandu, a head of customer services at Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

Jeffrey Manjengwa, a long serving ZTA official who is now an executive director, threw his hat to challenge his boss, Chidzidzi, to the top chair, along with Tesa Chikaponya, another loyal official of the ZTA who has served in various capacities.

But to demonstrate how strategic the ZTA CEO’s role is, South African Airways (SAA)’s acting-Southern African regional manager, Winnet Muchanyuka, the former president of the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ), is also eyeing the post, along with Tawanda Marufu a director at Intercontinental Group in Atlanta in the US.

Charles Chakanya, an ambitious Victoria Falls-based entrepreneur – probably one of tourism’s brightest recent discoveries – is also gunning for the top post, which means he would have to move over from Victoria Falls Anytime, a firm he helped establish over a decade ago, to call the shots at Tourism House.

Chakanya is one of the brains behind Zambezi Explorer, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest luxury boats.

“People want to make a contribution to develop their country and they feel that it is in central government that they can make a difference,” Mawerera said when asked about how the ZTA attracted private sector executives for the post.

It is tough to predict who will make it to Tourism House.But as we have said, it is a tight race.

Any of the final three can run ZTA.

But Manyumwa’s strategic positioning in a security-related role at ZimParks and his extensive experience at Zimbabwe’s second largest tourism chain, RTG, places him among the favourites to take over.
Chidzidzi and Pasipanodya are no pushovers either. Both senior tourism executives have had remarkable accomplishments in Zimbabwe’s leisure sector, fending off serious headwinds as tourism bans mounted at the height of the tourism crisis between 2000 and 2008. But there could be a dark horse lurking along – the SAA executive, Muchanyuka, who apart from her outstanding accomplishments locally, has recently garnered substantial experience internationally as TBCZ boss, and as a university lecturer.
She brings an important gender dimension to the tight contest.

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