TAP goes in for the kill against ex-CEO

 In Litigation, News, TAP

Portugal’s State airline TAP has claimed this week that the contract with its ex-CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener was “precarious and could have been terminated at any time” because “no management contract” had been signed with the company’s shareholders and Ministry of Infrastructures and Housing, thereby violating the Statute of Public Management.

TAP’s defence lawyers have therefore concluded that the company does not therefore “owe any compensation” to Christine Ourmières-Widener, it states in the document submitted by the TAP defence, and which was read by the online news source ECO.
Christine Ourmières-Widener is claiming compensation of almost €6 million because of the way she says she was sacked from the airline, which has damaged her reputation.
According to ECO, Ourmières-Widener also worked for O&W Partners, which she founded in 2019 during her time as CEO of TAP, and did so without authorisation, thereby “glaringly violating” the Statute of Public Management.
TAP accuses Christine Ourmières-Widener of “concealing information” about the travel and aviation consultancy for which she worked as administrator while she was CEO of TAP.
TAP has also ripped into the curriculum of the ex-CEO hired by Pedro Nuno Santos, and has played down her role in getting the company back to profit.
The airline’s defence argues that Christine Ourmières-Widener’s time at the helm was “far from being a success” and claims the profits posted were down to the “early and rapid recovery” of the sector following the pandemic.
According to her curriculum, and the way she was described by executive headhunters Korn Ferry, the French executive had had a “hugely successful career spanning 35 years that was established almost exclusively in the aviation sector.”
However, TAP argues that her alleged professional reputation does “not correspond to the truth” and that the executive had tried to “deceive the company, making it “seem like she had an extensive and complete curriculum”.
“The truth is that for most of her professional career (27 years), she had always worked for Air France or its group companies”, the defence arguing that the Amadeus IT Group, where she worked between 1992 and 1998, had been founded by Air France which was exercising a position of “control and influence” on the company.
The defence also adds that “for over 22 years at Air France, Christine Ourmières-Widener had never fulfilled executive functions” as an administrator or CEO, but rather director roles, with “honorary exceptions” when she was CEO of CityJet between 2010 and 2015. (Which also belonged to Air France)
The defence also argues that Christine Ourmières-Widener’s departure from TAP “in no way impacted the group’s performance over the past nine months”. The airline posted a record profit of €203.5 million between January and September, 2023.

Image: Copyright: Lusa: António Cotrim