A regional businessman and freqent commentator on LIAT says the regional airline is headed for a collision course over its appointment of an expat as its new chief executive officer.
Frequent flyer Robert Pitcher, who has made numerous calls for the current management team of LIAT to resign and to make way for a team of prominent regional businessmen to operate the airline, issued the warning while describing the latest appointment as “bad news”.
In a statement from its board of directors on Monday, the airline confirmed the appointment of David Evans as the new CEO, effective April 22.
Evans takes over from Julie Reifer-Jones, who has been acting in the position since captain Ian Burton resigned last September.
Evans, a British national with over 35 years’ experience in senior roles within the aviation industry, is said to also speak five languages.
However, Pitcher said: “You know where we are heading? We are heading down the wrong path.
“We don’t need bringing somebody from outside. These governments are real poor. I recommended only recently to form a new board, not a big board; a small one of businesspeople who are successful, with an auditor.
“Appoint a CEO who has knowledge of the airline industry and a good marketing person that has knowledge of marketing and how to be able to take the taxpayers money in this country to get back 100 per cent from it. We have not put these things in place at all,” added Pitcher, who is a creative marketing consultant and director of Search Results Fun ‘N’ Sun Publishing Inc.
He also criticized recent suggestions that the airline cut unprofitable routes as a means of lowering its debt.
“This blackmail I don’t [agree] with it, to say to a government if you are not a shareholder I am cutting your routes, that is foolishness . . .You’ve got to be able to look to see how many people come out of each of those countries and if it warrants only two flights a week have two flights a week. Don’t have one every day that is not profitable.
“That is what you got to do, but don’t say you are not flying there because you don’t invest any money in the airline. It is stupidness to do that,” said Pitcher.