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Malév CEO steps down due to unsettled wage dispute

Martin Gauss, CEO of Hungary’s national airline Malév, has handed in his resignation effective of May 31, news portal wrote, citing an announcement by the National Asset Management Zrt. The reason for his leave is the unsettled dispute with Malév employees on new wage agreements.

The new government has introduced wage limits at state-owned companies, and Malév majority owner National Asset Management Zrt (MNV) claimed earlier that they would stick to the legislation.

The MNV has accepted Gauss’s resignation. Gauss was named to head the airline in April 2009, on the suggestion of Malév’s then majority owner Russian VEB Bank.

He started his career in aviation in 1992 as a pilot at British Airways’s German subsidiary Deutsche AB. He was later appointed as director of Deutsche AB.

Under Gauss’s management, the airline’s headcount was reduced by 150. After taking over the helm in 2009, Gauss said that further 300 employees would be made redundant during the course of the next three years. In an interview published by in 2009, he claimed that the company saved HUF 6 billion in the first year of his managament, and as a result of a three-year business plan, the airline could turn profitable by 2012.

The unions representing the pilots and flight attendants of Malév said yesterday that they would stage a two-hour warning strike on Wednesday. In the absence of an agreement with the management, the unions would call a general strike for Friday, the unions said.