Denel Aeronautics is a newly formed Division within the Denel Group. All Executive Management (EXCO) members within the company operate at a strategic level and are responsible for communicating Denel Aeronautics’ strategic directives to their respective teams, who will then assist Management to realise the company’s strategic objectives at operational level. Exco members report such business progressions to steering committees, business forums and the CEO.
To help put the operational teams in a position to implement and realise Management’s strategic objectives, it is important that these teams know who the newly formed Exco team at Denel Aeronautics is, and to highlight Management’s leadership competencies in order to instill trust. These are thus the Exco members of Denel Aeronautics:
Chief Executive Officer
Mike started his career as an Aircraft Engineer and Maintenance Planner in 1990. He joined Denel Aviation in 2000 as a Planning Engineer. He was promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2008 before his appointment as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2010.
As CEO, he oversaw rapid growth in the company's activities and business across Africa and South America, and in 2017, Mike accepted the appointment of CEO of Denel Aeronautics after the consolidation of the Denel divisions Aerostructures and Aviation.
This CEO holds a Master degree in Aeronautical Maintenance and Production from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Constructions Aéronautiques (ENSICA and now ISAE) in Toulouse, France. In addition to his Engineering qualifications, and qualifications earned at the United Kingdom’s Air Technical College and the City and Guilds of London Institute, he also completed the Executive Leadership Programme at the University of South Africa's Graduate School of Business Leadership.
Chief Financial Officer
Abdul holds Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management (B.Com.) as well as Bachelor of Accounting Science (B.Acc.) degrees, and, as a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA), is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
He started working as an Audit Clerk in 1989 and has since gained extensive experience in Finance Management.
His career at Denel kicked off in 2008 in the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Part of his duties is to assist the CEO and other EXCO members in formulating and implementing strategic plans for the organisation.
Chief Commercial Officer
Victor holds a bachelor’s degree in Quality, and a National Diploma is Chemical engineering, a Project Management Diploma and has participated in various tailored senior and executive management development programmes. Throughout his 17-year tenure with Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd, Victor has built a strong skills set comprising strategic management, continuous improvement strategies, operational excellence programmes, business development strategies, aerospace market intelligence and incubating new business models.
Victor rose through the ranks working in technical positions such as Chemical Process Engineer, Section Manager for Materials Technology and Laboratories. He branched into the role of Continuous Improvement (STEP) Manager, a programme that anchored the turnaround strategy of Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd. Victor began his executive management role as Business Development Executive Manager for Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd, in June 2013.
Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and performance, Victor represents the creed of youth leadership that is developing within the broad State Owned Company cluster. As a result of his tenacity and consistency in performance excellence, Victor was appointed Deputy CEO of Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd in 2014, a portfolio he served in until March 2017.
On the back of his experience in strategic business turnaround, Victor was seconded, by the office of the Minister of the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), to serve as the Interim Acting CEO for South African Express Airways (SOC) Ltd in April 2017, following the resignation of the CEO. Within this portfolio, and serving as an Executive Director on the Board, Victor steered the airline through a challenging period, defining and 18 month turnaround strategy towards Financial and Operational sustainability.
Executive Manager: Strategic Projects
Hugh is an Engineer with more than 17 years’ experience in the Aviation, Defence, Technology and Energy sectors. Following stints in the United Kingdom, Swaziland, Tanzania and Kenya, he joined Denel Dynamics in 2001 as a Marketing Executive. In 2005, he was appointed as Manager of the Strategic Engineering Group at Denel Aerospace Systems with responsibilities that included Research and Development and Strategy Formulation.
He holds a Master in Engineering degree (Electrical and Electronic) from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Integrated Logistics Support from the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.
Executive Manager: Business Control
Thivian drives all programmes currently underway at Denel Aeronautics. He oversees the implementation of the company’s long-term business plan and has to ensure that the business remains profitable. The Business Contribution, Quality, Delivery and Customer Relationship Development performance areas form part of his portfolio.
Thivian holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Mechanical Engineering which he obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has also completed the Denel Executive Leadership Programme through the Henley Business School.
Executive Manager: Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ)
Chris started his career in the aircraft industry in 1977. He completed his trade training and qualified in Airframes and Engines at the end of 1979. This Manager achieved licenses on various engines ranging from Lycoming to large Pratt & Whitney radials, and at the age of 21, he was the youngest person to reach the level of Inspector within Field Aviation. He held FAA and DCA stamps to sign off work on aircraft such as Dakotas, Sky Masters, Viscounts and even a Catalina flying boat for a Canadian company.
In 1987, Chris joined the Atlas Aircraft Corporation’s Engineering Planning Department where he secured producibility for the Rooivalk Helicopter. He then furthered his career to hold the position of Engineering Planning Manager.
After that, he headed up the Diverse Projects Department and engaged with the international company IAI on the ASTRA SPX that over time evolved into the G100 and finally the G150. He also managed training teams that were trained on the BAe Regional Jet and the SAAB Gripen MLGU and REARFUSE structures in England and Sweden.
For a while, Chris was based in Switzerland where he led a team that required training on the Pilatus PC 7 Mk2 aircraft. Numerous Pilatus structural work packages were then brought back into Denel.
He became the Assembly Line Manager and later the Executive Manager of the Assembly Lines inclusive of Hawk, Gripen, Regional Jet, Agusta and IAI Gulfstream packages.
Willie van der Walt
Executive Manager: Engineering Services
Willie has more than 30 years’ engineering experience in the aerospace industry and specifically in Process Engineering, Product Development, Industrialisation and Executive Management.
He started his career with the South African Air Force (SAAF) as Head of Chemical Engineering in 1994, before joining Denel in 1999 as a Process Engineer at the Airmotive Division.
In 2006, Willie was appointed as Head of Industrialisation and tasked to ensure the successful delivery of the Airbus A400M’s first articles. Since then he has been promoted to Executive Manager Engineering at Denel Aerostructures. He holds a B.Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering as well as a B.Eng. Honours degree in Corrosion Engineering, both of which were obtained from the University of Pretoria.
Executive Manager: Aerostructure Manufacturing
Alan holds numerous qualifications including a Post-Graduate Certificate in Management from the Henley Business School; a National Technical Diploma; N4, N5 & N6 certificates and an Airline Industry Executive Seminar certificate. With these, he completed a Leadership Development Programme at SAA; the Finance for Non-Financial Managers Course (GIBS and SAA); an Aircraft Maintenance & Reliability Course (Florida, USA); and a Project Leading course.
This colleague has more than 31 years’ experience in the Aerospace Industry and progressed from a fully qualified Aircraft MRO Technician to a Senior Manager for various departments that included activities relating to mechanical workshops, production, planning, material controls and all maintenance actions. He worked as Senior Manager of the Maintenance Control Centre overseeing all activities at SAA Technical. Before joining Denel Aerostructures, Alan had a staff complement of over 800 employees that reported into him and oversaw that up to 11 major checks were carried out concurrently. Managing complexity and high pressure on-time deliveries is thus his forte.
As a leader, Alan firmly believes that its employees are the heart of a company. He has witnessed first-hand how teams continually strive to find better ways of working to maximise efficiency and ensure cost effectiveness. In the process of manufacturing parts and spares to the highest quality standards whilst still complying with all customer scheduled demands, it remains necessary for all involved to prescribe to health, safety and environmental regulations and Alan is totally confident that Denel Aerostructures will continue to live up to this high standard in the future.
Executive Manager: Legal Compliance Services
Khalatse holds a Baccalaureus Procurationis (B. Proc.) and a Legum Baccalaureus (LL.B.) from the Universities of the North and Witwatersrand respectively. He completed his Articles with Matlala Attorneys Inc. in Pretoria and has been admitted as an Attorney by the Supreme Court of South Africa.
In past endeavours, Khalatse gained experience at SASOL, ESKOM, ACSA, SACAA and the Polokwane International Airport in fields covering Procurement, Civil Aviation Regulation, Legal Advisory and Airport Management Services. He was appointed by the Minister of Transport as Chairperson of the International Air Services Council responsible for the Economic Regulation of International Air Services and served in this capacity from June 2008 to November 2015. He was part of the South African legal team that participated in the negotiations, drafting and adoption of the Cape Town Convention on International Interest in Mobile Equipment and Protocol under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Khalatse has extensive executive management experience specifically with regard to Economic, Safety and Security Regulation, matters relating to Maintenance & Repair organisational environments, as well as the management of Legal, Human Resources and Company Secretariat Services. He looks forward to being of service to the aviation community and the people of South Africa as part of a visionary leadership team that is transforming Denel “from a good corporate citizen to a great corporate citizen”.
Acting Executive Manager: Human Capital and Development
Natasha Paulse holds a BA Honours Degree obtained through the University of Cape Town and has also completed a Management Development Programme (NQF 6) with the University of Stellenbosch. In 2012 she won the Director’s Award for Best Student at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. She has extensive experience in Human Resources, Development and Transformation obtained from the Retail and Aviation industries.
She is currently leading a team of HR professionals across Denel Aeronautics, responsible for conceptualising, implementing and monitoring the Human Capital & Development strategies for Denel Aeronautics in line with the divisional corporate plans and the overall Denel Group Strategic Imperatives. Part of her responsibilities includes oversight of the Denel Technical Academy and Corporate Social Involvement initiatives within Marketing.
Her key competencies are, but not limited to Strategic Thinking, Strong Business Acumen, Relationship Building at all levels, Aligning Performance for Success, Decision Making, Facilitating Change, Information Monitoring, Ownership, Planning & Organising, Influencing, Results Orientated, Technical Knowledge and Gaining Commitment.
She has achieved a great deal in her professional experience executing major company projects with good and positive outcomes.
Executive Manager: Rotary Wing Aircraft
Dean joined Denel Aviation in 2013 as Executive Manager MRO Operations. After qualifying through an apprenticeship in 1995, he became a Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AMEL) in the aircraft airframes and engines fitter trade.
Amongst various other educational credentials, Dean holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Regenesis Business School; a Master degree relating to aviation safety and specialising in aircraft airworthiness from Ecole Nacional De L'Aviation Civile (ENAC) in Toulouse France; a Senior Management in Civil Aviation diploma from the Singapore Aviation Academy; and a Management Advancement Programme (MAP) certificate from the University of Witwatersrand Business School.
Dean possesses a considerable amount of experience particularly in the area of aircraft maintenance management in the civil aviation sector and has plied his trade at SA Airlink and SA Express. He has also worked in the civil aviation regulatory environment where he spent more than 10 years with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) responsible for aircraft airworthiness and aircraft maintenance organisation compliances.
Through his responsibilities at Denel, he is building up a sound profile in the military aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) environment.
Executive Manager: Continued Airworthiness & Systems Integration (CASI)
Shalan has many years’ experience in the Defence Force Sector after starting his career as an Engineer at Armscor in 1996. During the 11 years that followed, he progressed to Mechanical Systems Engineer and Programme Manager. He joined Denel Aviation in 2007 as the Executive Manager Quality and in 2011 was promoted to the position of Executive Manager Engineering & Flight Operations.
Shalan is a registered professional Engineer with ECSA and has attained a Master degree in Aviation Safety, a B.Sc. Eng. (Mech.); a Programme Management certificate; and a Denel Executive Leadership Development Programme certificate.