Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, who transformed the airline into Africa’s largest air carrier, said on Wednesday he had quit to focus on his medical treatment.
In a statement, he said he had been struggling with his health for almost a year and had been working from the United States for five months and was unable to return to headquarters. so early.
“I am retiring early due to health issues,” he said, echoing the language of the memo that indicated he would focus on his treatment.
During his 11 years at the helm of the company, Tewolde grew the carrier from just 33 aircraft to a fleet of 130 aircraft operating on local and international routes, and from 3 million passengers to 12 million passengers, before COVID, the airline said in a statement.
“Mr. Tewolde led the airline for over a decade with remarkable success reflected in his outstanding performance across all metrics, including but not limited to exponential growth in annual revenue from $1 billion to $4.5 billion,” the company said.
“Under his leadership, the airline group has quadrupled by all measures by building vital infrastructure worth more than $700 million, such as Africa’s largest hotel, cargo terminal, maintenance hangars and workshops. and repair, the aviation academy and the Full Flight training center,” continues the company.
The airline confirmed the board had accepted his request for early retirement and said a successor would be announced shortly.
Tewolde also helped the airline recover from the crash three years ago of Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX bound for Kenya, killing all 157 passengers and crew.
Tewolde’s career has seen him win numerous accolades, including ‘African CEO of the Year’ and ‘Best African Business Leader’, according to the Ethiopian Airlines website.
“Tewolde is one of the most successful CEOs of a multinational in the world. He more than delivered on every performance matrix,” said Zemedeneh Negatu, global chairman of Fairfax Africa Fund, a Washington-based investment and transaction advisory firm.