Bad record for new CEOKrešimir Kučko, the CEO in waiting at Croatia Airlines, received in January a final notice before dismissal for harassment of female colleagues. Two months later the Croatian government nominated him as their candidate to take over the reins from Srećko Šimunović at the carrier. Kučko is currently Croatia Airlines’ General Manager for the Benelux region, based in Brussels. In 2011, Kučko was involved in several incidents. On a Croatia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Zagreb he hurled verbal insults at a cabin crew member when she protested that Kučko’s wife is not allowed to enter the aircraft with her pet dog, local media report. A few months later he again insulted an airport employee in Amsterdam after she informed him his carryon luggage was too heavy. A female staff member working with Kučko at Croatia Airlines’ representative office also reported him for harassment for which he was ordered to appear in front of the carrier’s Ethics Committee. The female employee in question is now suing the airline. All of the abovementioned incidents took place in the span of last year.
Employees have been increasingly voicing their anger at the proposed new CEO. Last week Kučko retaliated by saying that employees wouldn’t be happy even if Sir Richard Branson was named to run the company. It has now also emerged that the CEO in waiting is an ex-neighbour and good friend of Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović.
Croatia Airlines has had a tough start to the year. The carrier has seen a decline in passenger numbers and received negative publicity as the feud between pilots and the management heightened in February. In March, the airline’s employees staged industrial action which led to many flight cancellations. There is hope that things will pick up and improve over the summer, during Croatia Airlines’ busiest time of the year. The airline is aiming to end the year break even and see profit in 2013.