Teresa Mafalda Gonçalves, financial administrator of SATA since 2020, is the new president of the Azorean company, which at the end of March sees Luís Rodrigues leave to lead TAP, revealed today the president of the Government of the Azores.
“I focused on the solution. I immediately defined a profile of continuity in this process [de privatização da SATA Internacional — Azores Airlines]. I invited, and was accepted, Teresa Mafalda Gonçalves to assume the presidency of SATA”, said José Manuel Bolieiro, head of the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM executive, in an interview with RTP/Açores.
Bolieiro said he was “confronted”, on Monday, with the decision of the government of the Republic to call the current president of SATA to head TAP, through “a phone call from the prime minister”, having reacted saying “that this generated a problem”, but also expressing “satisfaction with the route taken” in the Azores.
“After contacting the prime minister, I also received contact from Luís Rodrigues, saying that there had been an invitation [para ser presidente da TAP] and that he had placed conditions to stay [na SATA]at least, until the end of this month”, he described.
Asked about the declarations of the regional finance secretary, who criticized the “lack of statehood” of the Government of the Republic, José Manuel Bolieiro refused the role of “commentator”.
Bolieiro also stated that he believes that “there are no reasons for misunderstandings” regarding the declarations of the regional secretary and the prime minister, since “the ones of both are confirmation of what really happened”.
“I received a contact to inform. I was not faced with an appointment”, he noted.
Regarding a possible clause in the contract that could stop the sudden departure of Luís Rodrigues, the head of the regional government acknowledged that it did not exist, but stressed that he had become “used to being confronted with all the difficulties” and to focus “on solutions”. .
Teresa Mafalda Gonçalves was appointed member of the Executive Board and Chief Financial Officer from Grupo SATA in January 2020, holds a postgraduate degree in Finance from Nova School of Business and Economics, a postgraduate degree in Competition and Regulation from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and a degree from Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics.
Referring to statements by the Azores regional finance secretary, the prime minister, António Costa said today in Seixal that there is “a mistake” and that he himself spoke on the phone with José Manuel Bolieiro on Monday “at lunchtime “.
In response to journalists, he indicated that the regional government “did not have to agree” with the decision and that it only intended to inform.”[O presidente do governo dos Açores] understood well, because [Luís Rodrigues] was a choice of excellence,” he said.
António Costa also said that Bolieiro also “regretted” the choice, as he preferred to continue to rely on Luís Rodrigues.
The holder of the finance portfolio in the Azores, Duarte Freitas acknowledged that the departure of the president of SATA is a “contradiction” and revealed that the regional executive only received a “contact from the Government of the Republic around lunchtime” on Monday , to “inform that Luís Rodrigues was going to be president of TAP”.
“The sense of State should impose care with this process of privatization of SATA – Azores Airlines. It is a national issue. And we also realize that there are many wills in the Azores, which communicate to the Government of the Republic, so that this does not go well” , criticized.
On the 7th of February, the departure of Mário Chaves from the management of SATA Chaves was announced to succeed Válter Fernandes as general manager of Portugália, starting in March.
With the departure of the two elements, the board of directors of SATA Holding was made up of Teresa Mafalda Gonçalves (financial director of the group) and Bernardo Ponte and João Crispim Ponte (non-executive directors).
In June, the European Commission approved Portuguese state aid to support the airline’s restructuring of 453.25 million euros in loans and state guarantees, providing for “remedies” such as a reorganization of the business structure.
The financial injection implies the divestment of a controlling stake (51%) in Azores Airlines, the deployment of the ground handling activity and a reorganization of SATA’s business structure, with the creation of a “holding” that replaces SATA Air Açores in controlling its subsidiary operations.
Azores Airlines operates to and from the archipelago, while SATA Air Açores makes inter-island connections.