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South African Minister Announces Leading UK Engineer to Help Run Transport Network

Originally published 16 September 2003

South Africa’s Public Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe has announced that Professor Sir Kumar Bhattacharrya, Director of the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, has been appointed as a new Board Member of Transnet Limited - which operates and controls South Africa's major transport infrastructure. Worth 72 billion Rand in fixed assets, and with 80 000 employees, Transnet is the dominant player in the Southern African transport arena.

Professor Sir Kumar Bhattacharrya’s latest appointment is part of a leadership reorganisation that will also see South Africa’s National Treasury Director General Maria Ramos take over as the new Transnet Chief Executive in January 2004.

Professor Sir Kumar Bhattacharrya, said: “I am delighted to be part of the new Board of Transnet, which is an outstanding company and an asset internationally, as well as to Africa. Including its nine divisions and numerous subsidiaries, such as South African Airways, Transnet’s activities extend well beyond its African borders."

"I am also very pleased to welcome Maria Ramos, an able and dynamic individual, as the new Chief Executive of Transnet. Ramos’ finance and treasury expertise and her executive leadership skills will further strengthen Transnet’s expertise and ensure it successfully faces the challenges ahead.”

Professor Sir Kumar Bhattacharrya, one of Britain’s most influential manufacturing industry experts, is an economic strategist with extensive knowledge of the airline business. In addition to a wide knowledge of the developing economies he has trained more than 100,000 UK managers, and his services to industry and higher education were recognised recently by his knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours list in June 2003.

The appointment consolidates previous collaborations between Warwick Manufacturing Group and the South Africa Government, which established International Competitiveness Centres in 1999 in the regions of Northern Province and KwaZulu Natal.

Transnet has just produced its best its best financial results ever, but its fresh challenges include a need to align itself fully with a growing economy and develop an even stronger balance sheet. The new Board of Directors will oversee the widespread roll-out of significant infrastructure across the whole of the South African transport sector to ensure expanding logistics capabilities, while maintaining a commitment to reducing poverty, and strengthening the economy.

For more information contact:
Nick Matthews, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 76572506 or 0777 5534352.

1. Transnet is a public company and the South African government is the sole shareholder.

2. The current CEO of Transnet, Mafika Mkhwanazi, will leave the company at the end of December 2003 to take up his own private business interests.

3. Other new members of Transnet’s Board of Directors are Ignatius Fehoole, chairperson of the Black Chartered Accountants Association, Jeff Molobela, an engineer with extensive experience of financial services, and Professor Andy Andrews, professor at Henley Management College.