New Drukair CEO to be announced next week

Four Bhutanese candidates have been shortlisted

Management: The national airline, Drukair is likely to have a new CEO in place by next week.

Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) director, (Dr) Damber S Kharka, said that the selection process is in its last stage.

He said that of five shortlisted candidates, four were interviewed and that the best one would be selected. A total of six candidates had applied for the at least Nu 160,000 a month post.

However, he said the results cannot be announced currently as results are not finalised. “It will be next week,” he said, referring to the announcement. “The result will be announced very soon.”

This means that DHI will not have to pursue a “head hunt” for a replacement CEO. “From this lot we may get one because the final discussion is still underway, interview is being conducted and ratings are being done,” Damber S Kharka said.

Drukair’s former CEO, Tandin Jamso, resigned for personal reasons despite having two more years left on his contract. He left office in July.

However, the selection process has not been without criticism.

In the first round, two foreigners and two Bhutanese had applied for the post. However, DHI called for a second round of applications without conducting interviews leading to some criticism.

(Dr) Damber S Kharka explained that a second round had to be held for two reasons. One, he said, was because the costs associated with bringing in a foreign CEO was unaffordable. The second reason was because with only one Bhutanese candidate shortlisted, the pool was not large enough. However, he added that the candidate was provided with an option to sit for an interview in the second round.

Another source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that it was “unfair” that certain requirements were not mentioned in the announcements or Terms of Reference (ToR). The source, who was not shortlisted, said that it had not been announced or mentioned in the ToR that only P1 equivalent positions would be considered. The announcement mentions that a minimum of 15 years of working experience, and a minimum of three years at the general manager level or equivalent position is required.

The source said that while the requirements in the announcement had been met and therefore an application submitted, the issue of not being equivalent to a P1 position was brought up only later. The source added that the public should know of such issues.

In response, (Dr) Damber S Kharka said that the announcement had been made by Drukair. He said that the committee had decided that positions equivalent to P1 should be stated in the announcement.

The director said that the understanding in the corporate sector is that the P1 level is equivalent to a grade four or general manager level. However, he added that in the civil service the P1 level is further divided into P1A, P1B, and P1C. He said while the A and B categories still fall in the grade four level, the P1C is equivalent to a grade six level, and therefore not appropriate.

The national airline’s new CEO will face a number of pressing challenges such as seeing its market share drop to 62 percent on the lucrative Bangkok sector, last year, as a result of competition with Tashi Air.

The new CEO will also be leading a major transformation programme and have to ensure financial viability of the airline, which experienced a loss of Nu 130 million in 2014.

It has also been learned that an OD exercise will be carried out by the airline which could lead to employee layoffs. The airline recently did away with its call centre based at the IT park, laying off at least six staff.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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