Ex-TAP CEO claims €5.9M
The French former CEO of TAP Portugal, who was sacked from her job over the Alexandra Reis affair earlier this year, is claiming compensation and damages of nearly €6 million.
Christine Ourmières-Widener is calling 15 witnesses in her lawsuit at the Lisbon Civil Central Court against the State-owned company to answer the case of illegal dismissal.
Among the names and/or their legal representatives to be called are the ex-minister of Infrastructures, Pedro Nuno Santos and the two ministers who fired her: Finance Minister Fernando Medina and Infrastructures Minister João Galamba according to the online news source ECO.
The airline executive advanced with the case on Tuesday slapping writs on two companies within the TAP group – TAP SA and TAP SGPS.
The figure set by her legal team was based on her dismissal without the right to compensation, bonus and non-competition subsidy, and for damage to her reputation and negative publicity on the manner in which she was dismissed — on live TV with the announcement made by Medina and Galamba who based their decision on a report from the Portuguese Institute for Financial Management (IGF) into how director Alexandra Reis left the company with a €500,000 golden handshake. (An amount which was later returned)
The former director was offered a €500,000 compensation package to leave the airline over questions of incompatibility in the way the airline was being run on some issues, however it later transpired that Alexandra Reis did not have the right to the payment under the Public Management Statute.
Christine Ourmières-Widener accuses the IGF of “discriminatory behaviour” because she was not heard in the case. However, António Ferreira dos Santos, the General Inspector of Finances who was responsible for the IGF report, says that the former CEO had been given opportunities to respond in writing but was not called because they “spoke different languages*”. (*It seems employing interpreters or the use of English were not valid options!)
Questioned by the news source ECO, both the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Finance declined to comment.
Christine Ourmières-Widener claims that her dismissal ruined her reputation before her family, children, and friends.
“March 6 was the worst day of my life, which is why I will try to recover my honour and global reputation that I have in this industry.”
Photo: 2022. INÁCIO ROSA/LUSA