Compensation deal with ex-TAP director null, government wants refund
According to the IGF report released, Alexandra Reis will have to return a total of €450,110.26 of the compensation paid to her by TAP.
Portugal’s inspectorate of finance has concluded that the agreement reached for the departure of Alexandra Reis from TAP is null and void, said the government, which will ask for the refund of the amounts she received.
“The evaluation of the general inspectorate of finance [IGF] concluded that the agreement reached in February 2022 was null and void […]. It re-establishes the need to restore the legality of the termination procedure and makes the return of the sums eligible,” said the finance minister, Fernando Medina, who was speaking at a press conference in Lisbon about the delivery of the IGF report on the departure of Alexandra Reis from TAP.
The IGF’s verification of the legality of the compensation paid to Alexandra Reis was determined on 27 December last year by the minister of finance, Fernando Medina, and by the then minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos.
According to the report released today, Alexandra Reis will have to return a total of €450,110.26 of the compensation paid to her by TAP.
For the IGF, regardless of whether Alexandra Reis left due to “resignation or dismissal for mere convenience”, she “will have to return to TAP the amounts she received following the termination of her duties as a director, which amount to €443,500, to which must be added at least €6,610.26, corresponding to benefits in kind”.
The IGF safeguards, however, that the former TAP director “will be entitled to the benefit of the days of holiday not taken in that capacity”.
As the finance minister said, the IGF also recommended an assessment of the performance of the airline’s directors.
In this sense, it was decided to mandate TAP to take the necessary steps to recover the amounts paid to former director Alexandra Reis and to send the report to the Court of Auditors to “determine the possible financial responsibilities of the directors involved.
Medina noted that the process of termination of Alexandra Reis’ duties had raised “legitimate indignation” in the country due to the amounts involved in a company that was subject to a recovery plan, which “required a very significant effort” from taxpayers.
On the other hand, it provoked indignation over failures in “corporate governance management”.
The finance minister noted, “unequivocally”, the “good results” of the management team in implementing the company’s recovery plan and recognised the commitment of the airline’s workers, calling for this to be maintained in this new phase of the company.
In relation to the reinstatement of Alexandra Reis at TAP, Medina said that the IGF report did not make that recommendation.
When asked by journalists to specify whether the government was still considering reinstating the former director, the finance minister said that “the question does not arise”.
The government also decided today to exonerate the chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer (CEO) of TAP, Manuel Beja and Christine Ourmières-Widener, respectively.
Luís Silva Rodrigues, who currently heads Azores airline Sata, will take over as chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of TAP.
The case of the compensation of half a million euros paid to former secretary of state Alexandra Reis for her early departure from the TAP board led to the resignation of the former minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, and a reshuffle in the government.
Alexandra Reis joined TAP in September 2017 and three years later was appointed as a director of the airline, on the recommendation of the private shareholder.
The former secretary of state had left the TAP board in February and in June she was appointed by the government to the presidency of NAV Portugal – Air Navigation.
In February, the airline sent a statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission (CMVM) saying that Alexandra Reis had resigned from the board.
On 27 December, Alexandra Reis submitted her resignation as secretary of state for the treasury, requested by the finance minister, Fernando Medina, after the clarifications to TAP and the prime minister himself, António Costa, admitted that he was unaware of Alexandra Reis’ background.
In the early hours of 29 December, the then minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, and the secretary of state for infrastructure, Hugo Santos Mendes, resigned.