Altice bosses open to meeting minister over the company’s future commitments
Portugal’s Minister of Infrastructures, João Galamba, has thrown down the gauntlet to the CEO of the country’s largest telecommunications group Altice Portugal, Ana Figueiredo and shareholder Patrick Drahi for a meeting to discuss the company’s commitments to Portugal.
The move comes after the company has become embroiled in a massive corruption scandal ‘Operation Picoas’ which centres on suspicions of rigging hiring processes, paying undue advantages, selling company assets at a loss and embezzling money and involving around 100 companies linked to the group.
Alice Group President, Patrick Drahi has only come out of the shadows to discuss the scandal over the past week and says the allegations have left him shocked and, if they prove to be true, betrayed.
Altice has responded to the invitation from the minister with investment numbers, export figures, employment data as well as stating that it is open to holding round table talks with the minister to reassure that it is committed to Portugal.
Altice unions were received by the minister on Wednesday to discuss their concerns over the future of the company and their jobs.
Following Operation Picoas in July, joint CEO Alexandre Fonseca and several other senior directors were suspended from their positions pending the outcome of judicial police investigations.
The union leaders used the opportunity to present a list of demands over salaries and information on business deals conducted over the past few years. On leaving they announced that Galamba would call both the national and international senior management to a meeting about the company’s activity’s in Portugal to clear up doubts raised by the unions.
When the online news service ECO quizzed Altice about the minister’s statements it replied in a communiqué, “Obviously we are open to talking with all the partners and stakeholders and the government is a particularly relevant stakeholder and our willingness (to talk) is total”.
Altice Portugal CEO, Ana Figueiredo points out that Altice is one of the largest employers in Portugal (over 10,000) and in September will take on 130 new trainees from the best universities in the country, treble the number seen in 2021.
Moreover, she told ECO: “We are a company that gets involved in large national events, an example being the recent World Youth Day 2023 in which we were involved from the start.”
And even minister João Galamba admits: “This is a huge company that regardless of specific unwelcome situations involving one or other executive, is a company that transcends this or that executive and obviously has a commitment to investments in Portugal.”