Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Newspress UK | posted November 07, 2014 17:21
CEO of Etihad Airways James Hogan will act as his deputy
Alitalia, the official flag carrier of Italy, recently appointed former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo as the company's chairman. Montezemolo will replace Robert Colannino who decided not to continue on with Alitalia. Acting as his deputy in the company is Australian businessman James Hogan, CEO of Abu-Dhabi based airline company Etihad Airways.
Sources close to the matter stated that the move was done after Etihad Airways agreed to buy 49% of loss-making Alitalia as part of a EUR 1.76 billion (about PHP 98.3 billion) rescue plan. But both Montezemolo and Hogan have not yet been formally appointed because the plan still needs to be approved by European authorities.
Montezomolo has been a long time candidate for Alitalia given that he is one of the most connected businessmen in Europe. Scrutiny however, will cloud over Hogan's appointment since under European law, no airline from outside Europe can control a European carrier.
In review, Montezemolo stepped down as Ferrari Chairman last month after disagreeing with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) boss Sergio Marchionne for the future of Ferrari.
Hogan on the other hand joined Etihad Airways back in 2006 and has since expanded the airline company through acquisitions of minority stakes of other 9 airlines globally.
The European Commission stated that they will decided on November 17, 2014 whether to clear the Alitalia-Etihad deal.