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The post of chief executive officer of cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT is a desirable one, chair of its shareholder governments, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves says, adding that 200 persons worldwide have applied for the job.

The CEO post became vacant last year when Captain Ian Brunton resigned in September after what he described as a “disastrous summer”, which saw extremely long delays of LIAT flights at the height of the airline’s fleet renewal exercise.

Brunton had been in the post for just over one year. when he resigned.

“We are looking for a new CEO, there is an acting CEO, who, of course, is available to be considered,” Gonsalves, referring to Julie Reifer-Jones told a press conference on Wednesday.

“Shareholders are not looking at that, this is the board of director, and I understand over 200 applicants worldwide have applied for the CEO job,” he further said.

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“So, it must mean that this is an important airline all over the world, whereas many persons at home want to just bang it up with words, and a lot of times, I listen to some fellas and I wonder how far men are going to take political axes and grind them,” Gonsalves said.

6 replies on “200 persons applied to be CEO of LIAT — Gonsalves”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    With all due respect Prime Minister, this is not about grinding political axes, it is about the ineffective, inefficient, and irrational government monopolization of small-island intra-Caribbean air transport. All over the world for the past 20-30 years incompetently-managed money-losing government airtlines have been privatised. The result has been a sea change in ariline service: better run money-making carriers unencumbered by political mismanagement and an anti-market political control mentality.

    Please tell us why the Caribbean is still on the wrong side of history when it comes to air transport.

  2. No, Mr. Gonsalves, we just want you, your Chairman and the entire Board to be replaced with people who are competent to run an airline. We the taxpayers – the ones paying ALL of the bills – hey, remember us? – have seen enough incompetence and stupidity, not to mention open political patronage, to say out loud, in public, that we have had enough and it is time for sanity to replace the insanity.

    LIAT should at minimum break even. It would even be nice for LIAT to make a profit. But between you and all your HOG cronies the losses – not costs, for they are two very different things – have reached epic proportions and are now 100% unsustainable.

    And no, Mr. Gonsalves, we don’t want to hear any more stupid remarks from you either. LIAT is not an important airline all over the world, we know that LIAT carries over 95% locals, so how could that be?

    What is probably true is that LIAT has a reputation among foreign “consultants” that LIAT is a place they can do large deals in secret and get kickbacks for decades afterwards – like certain other CEOs have done. And don’t tell us you don’t know about those, we are not stupid.

    We in the industry are not “banging LIAT up” with words, we are “banging up” the arrogance, stupidity, incompetence, lack of qualifications and/or experience that YOU the lead shareholder are willing to both demonstrate and put up with, to condone, even to encourage.

    YOU the lead shareholder were part of putting the bureaucrat Jean Holder onto the Board a decade ago and making sure he was elevated to Chairman. With what qualifications? Certainly NOTHING in aviation, although he calls himself an aviation expert.

    We – the people who pay the bills – want to know what were and are Jean Holder’s qualifications? Where are his certificates? What is his experience? Where has Jean Holder EVER – AT ANY TIME IN HIS LIFE – worked in aviation.

    In the advertisement LIAT stated they want a CEO that has a Degree and all that experience and those qualifications – so now let us see, hear and know about the CEO’s direct boss, the Chairman.

    Fact is, Jean Holder is a tourism man, writes books on tourism, was head of the CTO, has hundreds of letters after his name, all in tourism. But Jean holder in aviation is INCOMPETENT. And he has proven himself INCOMPETENT for the last ten years.

    This is not a supposition or suggestion, this is now a proven fact.

    Yet here on the brink of the precipice YOU, the lead shareholder, appoint Jean Holder to head up yet another 100 days brains-trust committee to work out what you will do to save LIAT.

    And now with what “experts”? Jean Holder? With another bureaucratic “expert” – who has never held down a commercial position – whose initials are NB and whose record (even in the fetid stench of bureaucracy) shows a trail of one dead zone and disaster after another? On behalf of all of the taxpayers of four sovereign countries, is this really how you want LIAT handled?

    Go ahead and talk your abusive talk, Mr. Gonsalves. Because at the end of the day LIAT will close and then you will have to permanently shut your mouth. You were told this day is coming and you refused to take the corrective actions, rather instead playing the political line until the fish is too big and pulls the hook straight.

    Barbados, Antigua and St. Vincent are all too bankrupt to pull LIAT out of is death dive, and no global bank or provider is going to touch it – even with any amount of government guarantees.

    And if Mr. Warren Smith thinks he is going to get any brownie points for the CDB helping out, he should surely be careful – like the international financiers – that his fingers do not get burned again… because his previous US$65 million loan to LIAT is already lost.

  3. Finally, of all 200 applicants, Mr. Gonsalves, did you find ONE who thought he/she could turn it around without making major changes? And WHEN will you announce the appointment? Or is that a big secret too, like LIAT’s annual accounts?

  4. Patrick Ferrari says:

    bimjim, how many CEOs made a profit for LIAT? And what became of him? (Excuse the plural and singular mix.)

  5. BIM-JIM, great comment, better than I could do myself so I will not add anything to waht you have said.

    C ben-David, you are right, we are an the wrong side of history, because the whole thing is being controlled by an old Marxist who is years on the wrong side of history.

  6. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Here is the answer to my question.

    “On assuming the duties as CEO, Mark Darby was specifically charged with transforming a bankrupt and
    inefficient regional airline that was losing EC$80 million (US30.4 million) a year and restoring it to
    profitability and efficient operational practice. In spite of considerable challenges and obstacles, this he
    has achieved,” Hamilton said, pointing out that it was not too long ago that LIAT declared in regional
    newspapers that it made a profit.

    Hamilton was Darby’s lawyer.

    Darby was fired because he rewarded hard-working, high-producing staff with a bonus for their efforts and achievements. It is important to note that Darby did not reward himself.

Comments closed.