Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn has appointed Yohannes Tilahun, the former General Electric (GE) Ethiopia head, to lead the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO), replacing Solomon Tadesse, the founding Chief Executive Officer.
Zooming in on the tourism sector, Hailemariam has initiated a number of new reforms including new structures such as ETO to promote the tourism industry aiming to reap benefits out of the untapped potentials in industry. For to that effect, he has moved to chair the national tourism transformation council, which is composed of private and public enterprises, religious organizations, prominent personalities and others. The day-to-day operations of the ETO, among others include, developing tourist destinations and marketing the industry on the global arena.
According to sources close to the matter, Solomon failed short of meeting expectations. Dissatisfied by the performances of the former CEO, the PM has appointed Yohannes, who is an outsider to the sector as was his predecessor, the same sources said.
Yohannes told The Reporter that he has been first introduced to work for the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) as senior director of public private partnership in 2012. He said that he is passionate to work for public agencies but never anticipated to be assigned to his new post. Yohannes has been living abroad for 17 years before joining the ATA. His profile indicates that he has been working for Wells Fargo Advisors, a consulting subsidiary of a US-based bank which has been in the middle of a fraud scandal recently, as research and innovation vice president.
From 2014 onwards, he has been assisting the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), advising officials of the commission on strategic issues. But back in 2015, he was appointed as CEO of GE Ethiopia and has been able to represent GE for almost a year. However, Yohannes left for the US to reunite with his family until officials have approached him to get back to Ethiopia. He said he was back to assist EIC on technological aspects.
In addition to Yohannes, the PM has assigned two more individuals. Yechale Mihret, assistant professor and dean of the business and Economics College at the University of Gondar, was called to assume the role of a deputy CEO at ETO, replaced Jemal Kedir. Yechale has been partaking in various tourism related activities and has published various papers on tourism related topics.
The Prime Minister has also appointed Kumera Wakjira, who was director of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries directorate at the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, to head the Authority replacing Dawud Mume. The new appointees assumed their office as of April 20, 2017.