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LOT CEO Sebastian Mikosz resigns as privatization stalls

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LOT Polish Airlines CEO Sebastian Mikosz has resigned after the Polish government again delayed the flag carrier’sprivatization process. Several local media outlets have reported the privatization delay is due to upcoming elections.

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“Yes, I will [leave the company]. No privatization, so I go,” Mikosz told ATW on Tuesday. Mikosz is expected to leave LOT by mid-September.

Mikosz, who had resigned as CEO in September 2010, was reappointed to the position in February 2013. Mikosz had been the carrier’s 13th CEO and had been widely credited with turning around the company under his current leadership.

The Star Alliance member is 99.9% owned by the Polish treasury, which stated that due to Poland’s political situation, it was suspending its decision to sign a letter of intent to sell LOT’s shares, Rzeczpospolita reported.

Mikosz’s resignation comes at a time when LOT is beginning to show signs of recovery and has an ambitious growth plan starting from next year.

LOT was raising the prospect of an initial public offering (IPO) following the carrier’s reported first profit for seven years in 2014.

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“As long as LOT [is not] controlled by a new owner, the privatization could not happen because nobody wants to buy 49% in LOT when the rest of the company remains in the hands of the government, Mikosz told ATW in May.

LOT plans to grow ASKs at least 30% starting in 2016, when a European Union ban is lifted prohibiting the carrier from growing capacity or adding routes until it completes restructuring.

Within the next five years, the Star Alliance member plans to double in size, transporting 10 million passengers annually and wants to become the leading carrier in the region, which it calls the “New Europe.”

By 2020, LOT is targeting up to 80 destinations (up from more than 49); revenues should rise to PLN9 billion ($2.42 billion) from less than PLN3.5 billion. The fleet should growfrom around 40 aircraft close to 80 aircraft, including up to 18 long-haul aircraft.

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