The Directorate-General for Treasury and Finance (DGTF) has already notified the chairman of the executive committee of TAP, Christine Ourmières-Widener, and the chairman of the board of directors, Manuel Beja, “of the respective decisions to resign” from the company. According to an official source from the Ministry of Finance, the decision was approved at the general meeting of TAP SA and TAP SGPS, 100% controlled by the State (in addition to the DGTF, the state-owned company Parpública also has a small position in holding).
“Those interested have until March 28 to, if they so wish, comment at a prior hearing, which takes place in writing with the DGTF”, says the same source. After that period, “the final decisions within the scope of the dismissal procedures will be adopted”.
The Minister of Finance, Fernando Medina, and the Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, have already announced that the person who will replace Christine Ourmières-Widener and Manuel Beja is Luís Rodrigues, until now president of the Azorean SATA, and who has already been executive director of TAP.
Christine Ourmières-Widener is preparing to challenge her removal from the leadership of the company, following the case of the compensation paid by TAP to the former administrator Alexandra Reis, considered invalid by the Inspectorate-General of Finance (IGF), which noted irregularities in the process.
When heard by the IGF, as part of the preparation of the report, Ourmières-Widener, in office since June 2021, assumed “perplexity” when she was confronted with the existence of doubts about the legal process and declared that, after having analyzed the legal basis for the draft report to which he responded, the perplexity became “greater”.
“The respondent does not understand – nor does she accept – that, throughout the entire negotiation process”, the issues in question were not invoked “by TAP’s external consultants”, by Alexandra Reis’ legal consultants and “by the Government representatives who, from the beginning, they were aware of the process, intervened in decisive moments of the same [processo] and gave their consent to the conclusion reached”, he said. For the manager, “no infraction, of a financial or other nature, may be imputed to her”.
Manuel Beja also referred to the IGF that he acted “in accordance with the legal advice received regarding the form of termination of the contractual relations in force and with the indications of the shareholder”.
Regarding Ourmières-Widener’s assertions, the IGF replied in the report that the “additional considerations” can only “be assessed in terms of guilt by the competent entity for the purpose”. “However”, adds this body, “it is reiterated that the matters in question about which the CEO claims ignorance configure rules that shape the action of directors, including those resulting from the statutes of the companies they manage”.
The manager also spoke of “discriminatory behavior”, as she was the only one who was not heard in person, with the IGF responding to Lusa that “there were a number of other personalities/entities that were not heard in person, and clarifications were obtained in writing”.