fastjet appoints Jimmy Kibati as General Manager East Africa
Working alongside the fastjet management team, Kibati will be responsible for leading the airline's expansion in East Africa. He will take up his new position on March 17, 2014 and initially be based in Dar-es-Salaam, overseeing fastjet Tanzania.
Ed Winter, interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: "I am absolutely delighted that we have recruited such a high calibre airline executive to spearhead fastjet's expansion in East Africa. Jimmy's vast experience in the East African aviation market will be invaluable as we fulfill our goal of becoming a truly pan-African low cost airline.
"Jimmy's appointment underlines the confidence which fastjet's track record has generated within the industry."
Kibati has more than 20 years' experience in the commercial airline business, having joined Kenya Airways in 1992 immediately following the completion of his studies at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
During his time at the airline, Kibati has progressed through various senior commercial positions, including Manager of Network Planning & Alliances, Area Manager Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and Head of Network Planning & Airline Strategy.
Kibati left Kenya Airways in 2005 to join the startup carrier Virgin Nigeria, as Head of Network Planning & Commercial Development, was promoted to Director of Commercial Planning in 2008, and finally to Chief Commercial Officer, where he led the re- branding of the airline to Nigerian Eagle.
Rejoining Kenya Airways as Head of Network Planning and Airline Strategy in 2010, Kibati led Project Mawingu, Kenya Airways' 10-Year Strategic plan, and also headed the team that worked on the process that led to Kenya Airways becoming a full member of the Skyteam Alliance in June 2010.
Kibati has been accredited as Kenya Airways' representative in the Skyteam Alliance, the KQ Chair leading the expansion of the KQ/KLM Joint Venture relationship, and the African representative of IATA's Simplifying the Business Steering Committee.
He was also responsible for the government portfolio, where he engaged various regulatory and government authorities to gain market access for Kenya Airways' expansion.
In January 2013, Kibait was appointed Acting Commercial Director of Kenya Airways, where he oversaw the restructuring of the airline's commercial department and drove the execution of the company's commercial and planning strategies, including plans for the B787 Dreamliner and B777-300 fleet's entry into service and new growth plans into Asia and Africa.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.