Daliborka Pejović named Montenegro Airlines CEO
Montenegro Airlines has become the first national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to appoint a female as its CEO. It comes after the Montenegrin government dismissed Zoran Djurišić who has led the airline since its creation nineteen years ago. Daliborka Pejović, a high ranking member of the governing Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), will now lead the carrier. However, the Montenegrin government has missed the opportunity to professionalise the airline’s management. Ms. Pejović is serving as the State Secretary for Sustainable Development and Tourism within the government but will be relieved of her duties as she takes up her new role at Montenegro Airlines. Only two weeks ago Ms. Pejović was named as the head of the Women’s Alliance of the DPS.
Talk of Mr. Djurišić’s dismissal has been ongoing for the past year due to mounting debt and corruption allegations. The airline ended 2012 with a 23.5 million euro loss, despite the government writing off accumulated debt between 2002 - 2006. A report by the Montenegrin State Audit Institution last year indicated the airline had covered up millions of euros worth of debt, a claim the national carrier has since denied. The Institution found that Montenegro Airlines withheld losses in its financial reports and struck off debt owed to Airports of Montenegro, Jat Airways, the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency, Lovćen Insurance Company and the Health Fund. The State Audit Institution concluded that a total of 2.085.000 euros worth of debt had been covered up. The airline has also been under investigation for corruption after trying to set up an airline in Niš and attempting to lease a Fokker 100 jet to an Albanian airline. However, court proceedings have since been dropped without explanation.
Despite some problems in the past few years, Mr. Djurišić must be credited for setting up the Montenegrin national carrier. The airline has grown into a respectable regional airline with a modern fleet and solid route network. With Mr. Djurišić’s dismissal, further changes amongst the airline’s Board of Directors will take place. Ms. Pejović will officially take over on Monday, June 10. The changes at Montenegro Airlines come only weeks before Europe’s biggest low cost airline launches flights to Podgorica.