AirBaltic’s Next CEO May Be Foreigner, Latvia’s Premier Says
AirBaltic AS, the Latvian airline majority owned by the state, may see its next chief executive officer come from outside the country, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said.
“The next director could be from abroad,” said Dombrovskis on the Latvian Independent Television program 900 Seconds today. The next CEO has to be internationally known and an industry professional who is ready to return the company to profitability, said Dombrovskis.
The government yesterday reached a preliminary agreement with the airline’s minority shareholder to increase the capital of AirBaltic by as much as 70 million lati ($139 million) and to change the management of the airline. The government had demanded that current CEO Bertolt Flick, a German national, be removed as a condition for any increase in capital.
Flick yesterday called a press conference for today in Berlin, which he later canceled. The airline’s CEO left Latvia after the company’s office was searched by the anti-corruption bureau in May.
The increase in capital is needed after the airline lost 34.2 million lati last year and continued losses at the beginning of this year. Latvia plans to lower its budget deficit to 2.5 percent next year so it can adopt the euro in 2014.
The state owns 52.6 percent of AirBaltic while Baltic Aviation Systems has 47.2 percent.
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