File photo: Supplied/Denel

JOHANNESBURG - The department of public enterprises and State-owned defence equipment company Denel on Thursday announced Daniel du Toit as the new group chief executive after Cabinet approved the appointment.

This comes after Zwelakhe Ntshepe resigned with immediate effect as Denel chief executive in May after 20 years at the company, citing personal reasons, and was replaced with Michael Kgobe, the chief executive of subsidiary Denel Aeronautics, in an acting capacity. 

Denel said Du Toit brings with him a wealth of experience in the defence and manufacturing sectors and a solid career track record that will be of value to the Denel group. He is expected to assume duty on 14 January 2019.

Monhla Hlahla, Denel board chairperson, said Du Toit will be able to build on the turnaround strategy for the troubled defence company that was introduced earlier this year.

This year, the Denel board's first endeavours were to stabilize the company's management and to appoint a permanent group chief executive with the industry experience.

"We look forward to working with Mr Du Toit to provide direction to Denel and its divisions, in line with the company’s vision, core values and strategic drivers," Hlahla said.

"Together, the board and management will continue with the implementation of solid initiatives to strengthen governance, inject liquidity and restore the company’s reputation and credibility."

Du Toit has a Masters of Commerce (M Comm) and has completed the executive development programme from Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Hlahla said Du Toit will be critical in strengthening the executive management capacity of the company. He joins Denel having recently vacated a managing director position at SAAB Medav Technologies in Germany where he held various executive positions as well as at Altech Multimedia.

After a delay in tabling its annual financial statements, Denel last month revealed that it had suffered a R1.8 billion loss in the 2017/18 year following seven years of modest profits. Hlahla said Denel's immediate priority is for the company to return to profitability and operational sustainability.

"The reputational damage Denel suffered over the past two years had led to a loss of confidence from stakeholders, including the banking and investment community, who in turn, were unwilling to extend credit facilities to the company," Hlahla said.

"The turnaround is meant to arrest the current decline in the company’s performance, inculcate a culture of sound corporate governance that is underpinned by ethical values and integrity – including instituting sound internal controls - and to restore the company’s position as a strategic national asset and industry leader."

African News Agency (ANA)