How substantial were their golden handshakes?
Alexandra Reis has not been the only TAP director to resign before end of contract in the last few years.
Since just before current CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener took up her post at the apparently cash-strapped airline, no less than four other highly-paid managers have cut short their tenures. And every single incident has been described to regulators by TAP in the same terminology: the various individuals had decided to ‘embrace other challenges’.
It has taken no time at all for media sources to wonder: “How much were they paid?” Are we seeing the tip of an ice-berg of hefty golden handshakes in a company that is officially in ‘economic distress’?
For the time being, says SIC television news, “we still do not know how the other four managers were indemnified”.
The inference is that investigators will be spending every waking minute trying to find out.
Meantime, this latest incident in which TAP appears to have shot itself in the foot (with both barrels) is gathering momentum. It is almost as if the sheer weight of ‘inconvenient truths’ emerging from within TAP and its government paymasters has taken control.
President Marcelo has said the political conclusions “have been drawn and well-drawn (…) It’s very simple: once the clarifications were presented it was evident that there was only one solution, which was the one that was followed. It was clear that really in terms, as I pointed out from the beginning, that it was important to ascertain the political issue, not so much ethical but political, and not only legal. And the political conclusion was drawn, and well-drawn”.
Will there be time before the year’s end for the swearing in of Ms Reis’ replacement? Marcelo is unsure – and to be fair with the number of people who have left government in recent months (Público says eight members of the cabinet have gone, “most of them secretaries of State”) it might be wise to wait a little.
“It is December 28 and on December 30 I fly to Brazil (for the inauguration of the new president there)”, Marcelo told journalists. “We’ll see” if in that time frame “it is possible to make a nomination and be sworn in”.