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UPDATE: Turkish Airlines CEO suspended, red lipstick ban possible reason

May 12, 2013 6:19 am

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The reversal of a ban on female flight attendants wearing red and dark pink lipstick created great controversy, pitting secular and conservative forces in the country. It is unknown at this point if the CEO’s decision to reverse the ban is the reason he lost his job.

— Dennis Schaal

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UPDATE:  The board of Turkish Airlines is meeting tomorrow to discuss the future of Chief Executive Officer Temel Kotil, who was suspended from his duties, a person familiar with the matter said.

The board will convene in the morning to address Kotil’s future, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the suspension has not been announced publicly. Three calls to Kotil’s mobile phone and a text message went unanswered. Spokesman Ali Genc declined to comment when reached by phone.

Kotil was stripped of his duties following a disagreement with company Chairman Hamdi Topcu, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported earlier today, citing unidentified executives at the carrier. The spat centered on a controversial decision to ban make-up on flight attendants, as well as the handling of a strike that led to the firing of 305 employees, Milliyet said.

Kotil, a former academic who has led Turkish Air since 2005, said in an interview on May 9 that he wants to delay a possible order for jumbo jets for at least two years, contrasting with comments by Topcu, who has said the company will make a decision by the end of the year.

Turkish Airways, in which the government holds a 49 percent stake, is in the midst of plans to more than double its fleet and expand its route network. The Turkish flagship carrier, which is officially known as Turk Hava Yollari AO, has almost tripled in the last year, making it the best performing stock on the 100-member Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 Index.

The board may decide to selection Chief Financial Officer Coskun Kilic as Kotil’s successor, Milliyet said.

The original story follows:

Temel Kotil, chief executive officer of Turkish Airlines, was suspended from his duties amid a dispute with Chairman Hamdi Topcu, Turkish newspaper Milliyet says, citing unidentified executives at the carrier.

The decision may relate to disagreements over the reversal of a ban on hostesses wearing makeup, or over how to handle a strike threat by employees after 305 people were fired.

The airline’s board is to meet early in the coming week to resolve the situation.

Turkish Airlines financial chief Coskun Kilic may take over as acting CEO.

–Editors: Benedikt Kammel, Heather Harris

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

–Editors: Alaa Shahine, Andrew J. Barden

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Holland in Istanbul at bholland1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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