Finnair CEO apologises to shareholders

The CEO of Finnair has apologised at the carrier’s Annual General Meeting for a series of recent controversies that have tarnished the company’s reputation. On Wednesday (March 28), Mika Vehviläinen spoke to 391 shareholders, representing 73.5 percent of the airline’s stock.

“I am extremely sorry about the discussion on Finnair in recent months, in which I have been involved, and which has hurt our reputation”, Vehviläinen said, according to Helsingin Sanomat. “I would like to apologise to you, dear shareholders and colleagues at Finnair,” he added.

Much of the three-hour meeting was taken up by angry speeches from shareholders, with Matti Valtasaari pointing out that the airline has failed to pay dividends to shareholders and let chronic losses spiral out of control.

“One could come out and say that an incompetent management has been sucking the blood of the company”, Valtasaari said, prompting a round of applause.

In response, Vehviläinen said, “It is quite true that neither I nor anyone else in our management, and probably not on the Board of Directors, are satisfied with the current financial condition of Finnair.” He added that the carrier has suffered at the hands of intense competition.

Head shop steward of Finnair’s office workers, Markku Kaukanen, called on the board to commission an impartial investigation into the profitability of the airline’s Technical Services, from which 450 jobs were cut last year.  Vehviläinen said Technical Services had also suffered from competition, but vowed to continue talks with Kaukanen.

Chairman of the Board, Christoffer Taxell, spoke about controversial bonuses awarded to Vehviläinen and other top executives, saying the board acted in accordance with the principles of good management and the law. According to Helsingin Sanomat, the shareholders voiced strong opinions on the subject but no concrete decision was made.

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