Tewolde GebreMariam
Home African CEOs Interviews Visionaries Tewolde GebreMariam: The Man Who Modernised Ethiopian Airlines
Visionaries - August 8, 2022

Tewolde GebreMariam: The Man Who Modernised Ethiopian Airlines

Tewolde GebreMariam Tesfay has been an important figure in spearheading the growth of Ethiopian Airlines for almost a decade as the group’s Chief Executive Officer. Recently, he resigned to focus on his medical treatment. 

In 1985, he began his career at Ethiopian Airlines, holding various positions in the cargo traffic handling department before rising up the ranks to become Manager, Cargo Traffic Handling.

He was hired as the Regional Director for South East Asia and India, based in Bombay, and later moved to Jeddah to take a position as the Area Manager for Saudi Arabia. 

He was appointed as the Area Sales Manager for the North East USA and Canada, located in New York, when Ethiopian Airlines started direct flights to the USA.

Source: The Exchange Africa

On August 16, 2004, he became the Executive Officer, Marketing & Sales, to oversee Ethiopian’s marketing and sales operations. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Ethiopian on July 1, 2006, with charge of all the airline’s operational divisions, including commercial, flight operations, customer service, maintenance, and engineering.

He has been Ethiopian Airlines’ Group CEO since January 1, 2011. Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO also participates in the High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST), which is co-chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He received a B.A. in Economics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and a Master of Arts in Business Administration from the Open University in the UK. Mr. Tewolde has won numerous major awards in his capacity as CEO.

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Tewolde GebreMariam’s achievement in Ethiopia Airlines

Tewolde GebreMariam has worked for the airline for over 37 years and has produced remarkable results as its CEO for 10 years. This is evidenced by his exceptional performance across the board, including but not limited to exponential growth from one billion dollars in annual revenue to 4.5 billion, from 33 to 130 aircraft, and from 3 million to 12 million passengers before COVID.

Under his direction, the airline group has expanded in all areas. They are investing more than $700 million in the construction of critical infrastructure, including Africa’s largest hotel, a cargo terminal, MRO hangars and stores, an aviation academy, and full flight simulators. 

The Board, Senior Management, team members, and the entire Ethiopian Airlines family appreciated him for his efforts and wished him a speedy and complete recovery.

“Mr. Tewolde led the airline for over a decade with remarkable success reflected in its exceptional performance in all parameters including but not limited to exponential growth from $1bn annual turn-over to $4.5 billion. Under his leadership, the airline group has grown by four fold in all measurements,” a statement from the airline said. 

Health issues

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

Tewolde Gebremariam, who made the airline the largest carrier in Africa, resigned in March to concentrate on his medical care.

“I am retiring early due to health issues,” he told Reuters in a text message, echoing the language in the memo which said he would focus on his treatment.

For the previous five months, Gebremariam worked from the United States due to health concerns that had plagued him for almost a year. He said that he would not be able to return anytime soon to the headquarters.

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