Skift Take

Turkish Airlines' damage control over lipstick-gate doesn't pass the smudge test. First, the airline suspends Kotil, then the board meets, and he supposedly delays his scheduled leave of absence for a week due to his father's illness. We're not buying it.

Turkish Airlines said Chief Executive Temel Kotil will remain in his post and plans to lead negotiations with trade unions, following a board meeting to consider his future after Kotil was suspended from office.

“There is no disagreement in the management of Turkish Airlines,” the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Kotil “has postponed to next week his annual leave, which he had requested because of his father’s illness. Presenting this as a management crisis doesn’t reflect the truth.”

Kotil was suspended from his duties, and the board convened today to discuss his future, a person familiar with situation said yesterday. The person, who asked not to be identified because Kotil’s fate hadn’t been made public, said the CEO faced the prospect of losing his job at the meeting.

The executive was stripped of his duties following a disagreement with company Chairman Hamdi Topcu, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported yesterday, 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.

Turkey’s Hava-Is trade union said May 3 it will go on strike on May 15 after negotiations failed on raises, crew overtime work and reinstatement of 305 workers that were fired.

Turk Hava Yollari AO, as the flag carrier is formally known, met today to discuss the future of Kotil, a person familiar with the matter 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 company has almost tripled in the last year, making it the best performing stock on the 100- member Borsa Istanbul National 100 Index.

Turkish Airlines fell as much as 2.5 percent to 7.84 liras today on Borsa Istanbul, the most in a week. The shares were down 1.2 percent to 7.94 liras at 2:18 p.m.

Editors: Benedikt Kammel and Heather Harris.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at [email protected]. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at [email protected].

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Tags: executives, turkish airlines

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