domenica 14 settembre 2014

Etihad's Hogan meeting Alitalia staff in Rome, Milan

Del Torchio says anti-trust ruling expected in November

(ANSA) - Rome, September 11 - James Hogan, chief executive of Alitalia's crucial new partner Etihad Airways, began two days of meetings Thursday with the Italian carrier's unionized workers in Rome and Milan. Hogan is explaining future strategic plans for Alitalia as part of "an open and honest dialogue with our employees (going) forward together to transform our business," said airline Chairman Roberto Colaninni. Etihad, which is investing 560-million euros for a 49% stake in struggling Alitalia, has promised to ultimately spend as much as 1.758 billion euros on the carrier, if the deal signed last month is approved by regulators.

Chief Executive Gabriele Del Torchio said that a key anti-trust ruling from the European Union on Etihad's investment should come in November. "I don't see any particular problems," from regulators, said Del Torchio, who previously announced he would resign as CEO in October amid expected major management changes including Colaninni's resignation. The investment deal required major concessions by unionized employees including layoffs and salary reductions. Etihad, based in the United Arab Emirates, demanded cuts of 2,250 jobs, but the Italian government has said it has found ways to re-employ at least half of the affected workers.

Hogan's arrival in Italy comes amid suggestions that Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who resigned this week as chairman of Ferrari after clashing with the head of the automaker's owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), may become Alitalia's new chairman. Montezemolo, who will leave Ferrari on October 13, said Wednesday that such a step was a possibility. Having "a manager of(Montezemolo's) experience to hold the office of chairman would be an excellent opportunity," said Colaninno. While the deal, which was formally signed August 9, will keep Alitalia in the air, it also offers Etihad a stronger foothold in Europe and access to lucrative routes.

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