Following a scandal involving an irregular severance payment at TAP Air, the Portuguese government, which owns the carrier, fired the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman.
The news was announced by Portugal’s Minister of Finance Fernando Medina on March 6, 2023. In a document published by the Portuguese government, which owns the airline, Medina outlined the timeline of events that resulted in the changes in the management of TAP Air.
The termination of Alexandra Reis, a former administrator at the airline, was evaluated by the Ministry and deemed irregular. Consequently, Medina declared that the agreement signed between TAP Air and Reis was “void.”
The Portuguese Inspeção-Geral de Finanças (General Inspectorate of Finance, IGF), an audit authority responding to the Ministry of Finance, also reviewed the agreement and recommended that Reis should return the funds she received following her termination from the airline, which amounted to €450,110 ($479,810).
As a result, the “Government decided to dismiss, with just cause, the President of the Board of Directors and the President of the Executive Committee of TAP”. The local lawmakers will “designate the new Chairman of the Board of Directors who will be, at the same time, the Chairman of the Executive Committee”.
Later on March 6, 2023, the government indicated that the person to replace the now-former CEO, Christine Ourmières-Widener and Chairman Manuel Beja, was Luis Rodrigues. Rodrigues previously served as the CEO of SATA Air Açores, a privately-owned Portuguese airline based in the archipelago of Azores.
“I now address a word to TAP’s employees, to recognize the commitment they have made to the success of the restructuring plan and to appeal for the continuation of that same commitment now that we are in a decisive phase for the viability and success of the company,” continued Medina.
The minister concluded that with the ousting of the two executives and the appointment of Rodrigues, the airline should now “focus on the fundamentals” and its road to “recovery and sustainability of a strategic company for the prosperity and affirmation of our country”.