As Times Group struggles with failure to remit taxes and pensions for its workers amid shrinking advertisement and circulation, its Managing Director Leonard Chikadya is said to have gone beserk.
Chikadya called for a nocturnal meeting of his executive management into the wee hours of 2 January and lambasted them for being a stupid management.
The Managing Director phoned around at 2.00 am and summoned his lieutenants to the office. The meeting commenced at 2:45am and ended at 5.00am.
According to a senior manager who was heard complaining at Blantyre Sports Club after a drowsing round, only Chikadya and nobody else spoke at the strange meeting.
“Am I the only CEO with a stupid executive management,” Chikadya fumed in the nocturnal meeting.
The meeting was prompted by a bitter complaint from an advertising client who complained about poor printing quality.
Printing quality at Times has gone from bad to worse because the machines are old and ill-serviced.
Chikadya tried to procure a new printing machine from Italy on a huge loan from National Bank. But what arrived in Malawi was a non-runner archaic machine sold by a company that does not exist.
Chikadya was personally involved in the Italian job, or, what is now called the Times Machine Heist as he travelled without technical officers to Italy to meet the company that can longer be traced.
When questions were asked, Chikadya invented a scapegoat and fired Joshua Chiyenda the then printing manager. Since then, printing quality has deteriorated leading to withdrawals of advertisers. With the huge loans Times is paying, reporters’ welfare and working conditions have worsened at Times.
Stress, bitterness, disenchantment and frustration have been rising inside Times after the company suffered mass resignation of its staff, loss of public trust and deepening losses.
Times workers are badly paid and the company is failing to remit taxes and pensions it deducts for Malawi Revenue Authority and Old Mutual respectively. Circulation of its newspapers is at an all time low. There are also reports that Times Group is failing to pay off the owner of Matindi Radio (currently Times Radio) a balance of K15 million for the acquisition of the radio amid reports of huge debts owed to various banks. The end of 2017 has revealed the worst losses in the history of the media company.
Times is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Chikadya is a long experienced business captain with a record of failure. Both Malawi Pharmacies and Tambala Food Products collapsed in his hands while he was CEO of the two companies before he was recruited to lead Times.