All change at Czech Airlines: Lasak and board quit

All change at CSA Czech Airlines as seven of its eight board members, including CEO Radomir Lasak, have resigned. CSA supervisory board chairman Vaclav Novak has also quit.

It comes after Lasak’s long efforts to push through wage cuts.CSA’s board had in August offered to resign if unions would a agree to a wage cut deal. While CSA’s statement does not mention the reason for the resignation, Lasak is quoted in the Czech press as saying the board agreed to resign after an agreement with unions on wage cuts saving the company around $35 million. These wage cuts, including a 15% cut by pilots, still fall short of those originally sought by the company. You can read plenty more about this here in a detailed article in the Prague Daily Monitor.

AB-Lasak200a_(c)Billypix-Mar.jpgLasak took the helm of CSA nearly four years ago at a particularly dire time for the carrier. He first stabilised the carrier, in part through the sale of a number of assets, before setting out on restoring its profitability. I interviewed Lasak three or four times during his time at CSA, latterly early this year for a cover interview for Airline Business. I asked him just how close they were to the edge when he took the helm. “Close,” he said. “I started to read about bankruptcy law.” You can read the article here.

But market conditions have turned against the carrier – the airline is expecting losses this year - just as the state has been attempting to privatise the airline. A consortium, including Czech airline Travel Service, is the only bidder still in contention.

In the meantime, new board chairman Miroslav Zámečník says the existing restructuring projecSt are continuing as before.

And in an unusual sign of airport and airline harmony, new man at the helm of CSA is Miroslav Dvorak – who is and will remain head of another Czech privatisation target, Prague Airport. “The appointment of Dvořák, until now the CEO of Prague Airport, does not constitute a conflict of interest.  Both companies are controlled entities according to the applicable legislation, whose common shareholder is the State,” says Zámečník.

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