Former TAP executive leader defends herself, accuses Medina of blackmailing her and the company of trying to “destroy” her reputation

Former TAP executive leader defends herself, accuses Medina of blackmailing her and the company of trying to “destroy” her reputation

Exonerated, on March 6, 2023, from the position of executive president of TAP for “just cause”, after a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance regarding the dismissal of administrator Alexandra Reis, with compensation of 500 thousand euros, Christine Ourmières-Widener comes, in an interview with TVI/CNN, to harshly criticize the Minister of Finance, Fernando Medina, whom she accuses of having “blackmailed” and “threatened” her, forcing her to resign, without there being any justification for this. Serious accusations, made less than a month before the legislative elections, in which the former Minister of Infrastructures, Pedro Nuno Santos, the government official who hired her, and whom Ourmières-Widener does not criticize, is a candidate.

“He strongly advised me to resign because of my reputation. I call that blackmail and threatening me and that’s what he did”, laments the French manager, referring to the Minister of Finance, Fernando Medina. Assuming herself as a victim, and a woman alone, Ourmières-Widener claims that her dismissal was political and not for professional reasons. “During the time I was at TAP I only received congratulations from all sides, including the one who fired me“, she highlighted, ruling out any political interpretation of the moment chosen to break the silence on the case.

The manager assures that she did not accept Medina’s request because it would be unfair and humiliating, but also because she would lose her rights. In her defense against TAP, Ourmières-Widener asks for compensation of 5.6 million euros, an amount that she admits is high, but fair. “When we resigned we lost all rights”, she says. Also justifying that she did not accept, despite Fernando Medina having assured her that “she could receive a bonus” and that this would be discussed after her resignation. “How can you trust someone who asks us to resign, who threatens our reputation? I felt humiliated, insulted. It was horrible,” she lamented.

TAP’s defense is full of “attacks and lies”

He also does not spare TAP, saying that the company lies in its defense in the case brought by Christine Ourmières-Widener. The carrier accuses the manager of “gross violation of the company’s statutes” and says that she is suspected of the alleged crimes of “influence peddling”, following a proposal for services from a company to which the manager’s husband was linked.

“TAP’s response [no processo contra Ourmières-Widener] is full of lies, attacks and insults,” he said. “I’m a monster to them. A real monster. How do they even believe that this is true?” asks the manager. And she continues: “They are trying to destroy my reputation, destroy my past. They say all kinds of things about me that are not true, that I had nothing to do with the success of the company and the positive results”. She recalled that it was she and her team who argued that TAP should increase supply to satisfy strong demand, when there were those within the company who argued that it was not a good idea.

“They are trying to convince people that my journey in the industry is full of failures and that I am not an honest person”, he further laments. She recalls that she has been in the profession for 30 years, stating that it was her experience as a sector manager that allowed the European Commission to agree to minimize the reduction in slots to be lost by TAP.

Agreement with TAP is not removed

If there is a lesson that the manager learned from this process, she confessed in the interview with TVI/CNN, it is that she would not work in a public company again. She returned to the private sector, and in September filed a lawsuit against TAP – and not against the State -, where she contests her dismissal, and asks for compensation of 5.9 million euros. It’s the amount to pay for the damage to her reputation, which she considers “enormous.” “They hurt me, my family and all my friends”, she explains. “People don’t even realize how difficult this experience was. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemy”, she said.

She ensures that the contracts she maintained with other companies, which led to her being accused of disloyalty, were known to those who hired her and were included in the contract she signed.
Despite accusing TAP of lying, Ourmières-Widener admits an amicable agreement to end the process. “I believe in justice. Reasonable people will be able to have a productive discussion. Let’s see,” she says.

“I do this for my children. I hope my reputation is clean. That’s the most important thing for me,” she says. He assures that “he has nothing against Portugal. It’s a great country.” And she says that her husband continues to live in Portugal.


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