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After turning around El Al, David Brodet resigns as chairman

CM 23/05/2021

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Just eight months after he assumed the position, El Al Airlines chairman David Brodet announced he is stepping down.
Brodet, who has held top positions at some of Israel’s largest companies, said on Sunday that he had made the decision to leave several weeks ago, but chose to wait until after the security situation was resolved to make the announcement. He will step down as of May 31, before a new chairman is appointed.
During his short term, Brodet helped the national airline weather one of the most serious crises in its 73-year history, as the corona pandemic curtailed flights and led to massive financial losses. Brodet was instrumental in helping El Al secure a $210 million aid package from the state, and put forth a plan to secure its financial stability for the future.
Following the announcement, El Al CEO Avigal Soreq thanked Brodet for “his significant contribution to El Al in one of the greatest moments of crisis the company has known since its inception. 
His experience and professionalism, along with uncompromising determination, are what allowed the company to complete its aid outline and make a successful offering that will get it back on the runway. We have a long way to go, and I am sure that we will succeed in the future as well.”
Deputy Chairman of the Board Amikam Ben-Zvi added that Brodet had “earned a place of honor in the history of El Al.”
The announcement also comes days after the Israeli government approved Kenny Rozenberg owning a controlling stake of the airline, after officially becoming an Israeli citizen. Rozenberg indirectly acquired a 43% stake in the company last October through his 27-year-old son, Eli. Because El Al is seen as an asset of national importance, only a citizen is allowed to own it. Brodet was hired at the time of the acquisition.

In his resignation letter, Brodet said he joined El Al out of a sense of responsibility.
“El Al is an extremely important strategic asset for the State of Israel, given that air transportation is basically the only way that travelers can enter and leave Israel, and El Al always flies, even in situations when the foreign airlines stop,” he wrote. “I saw it as a duty and a privilege to join El Al at its time of difficulty, to be part of the effort to ensure its survival at a time when the world closed to air traffic, and to prepare it for recovery after the crisis. I didn’t hide anything. I even said that I had come for emergency reserve duty. I set goals for myself, and I’m happy to say that they have been achieved accordingly. As far as I’m concerned, my period of reserve duty has come to an end.”
As part of the restructuring plan, El Al said last week it was slashing 1,900 jobs. The company narrowed its first-quarter loss to $86 million, compared with $140 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped 64% to $117 million, while expenses such as salaries and jet fuel dropped 54%, the company said. After losing a whopping $531 million in 2020, the company has a long road ahead toward recovery.
Brodet, 77, has had a long career in Israel’s public and private sectors. He has served as chairman of Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, Yes Satellite Television and Blue Square, and was budget director and director-general at the Finance Ministry in the 1990s and deputy director-general at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry in the 1980s.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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