Despite widespread criticism of its current level of service, Vincentian prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves reported Wednesday that strong interest had been expressed in the vacant post of chief executive officer at the beleaguered regional airline LIAT.
“I am told 51 people applied. Despite [the criticisms], a lot of people want to run LIAT you know,” Gonsalves, who is chairman of the airline’s shareholder governments, told reporters at a news conference here.
Without going into details, he said an independent company was handling the process of selecting a new chief executive officer for the Antigua-based carrier, in which the Government of Barbados is the largest shareholder.
“There is a company which has been selected to bring down this list. Then there is a process which is ongoing with the board of directors, and the chairman will advise us with their recommendation,” Gonsalves added.
This is the third time in three years that the airline, of which the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica are also shareholders, has been seeking to fill its top position.
United Kingdom-born airline executive David Evans was the latest to exit the CEO’s chair after occupying that position from April 2014 until April 2016.
Prior to that Ian Brunton, a former Caribbean Airlines executive, held the post from August 2012 to September 2013.
The airline’s chief financial officer Julie Reifer-Jones, who has been acting since Evans’ departure, also held the reins after the resignation of Brunton. Now she is said to be among the 51 applicants hoping to be confirmed in the job.
However, Gonsalves did not give an expected timeline for the new CEO to be selected and appointed, but reports out of St John’s suggest that it could be within the next three months.