Legendary Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam quits after 37 years

The long-serving CEO of Africa’s largest airline Ethiopia Airlines has stepped down, citing ill health. Starting at the firm in 1985, he become CEO in 2011. He leaves behind a strong legacy, the envy of other African airlines who struggle to match Ethiopian’s operational efficiency.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement of the resignation of Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of Asky Airlines in Togo, Mesfin Tasew, has been appointed to take over as head of Ethiopian Airlines.

His appointment on 24 March, follows the resignation of Tewolde GebreMariam, who took early retirement on March 23 for health reasons.

Tasew will be responsible for the continent’s leading airline, with 130 aircraft covering 120 destinations worldwide.

Tewolde GebreMariam is a towering figure of African aviation, dragging Ethiopian Airlines through a profound modernization process, and running the state-backed company profitably, in comparison to many continental peers.

“I pay tribute to the work of a man who has led Africa’s largest airline for over 11 years”, says Abdérahmane Berte, head of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

“Under his leadership Ethiopian Airlines became the largest African airline. A position maintained for many years”, he says. “For the sake of history I also note the important role of Ethiopian Airlines as one of the founding companies of AFRAA

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