Gordon Smith visits Lisbon to meet Christine Ourmières-Widener, group CEO of TAP Air Portugal, to learn more about her vision for overhauling the publicly owned flag carrier
Like many of her peers, Christine Ourmières-Widener has worked in the aviation industry for more than 30 years, yet her rise to the top of a major European flag carrier isn’t a typical one. It’s rooted in a deep understanding of the very machines that make the magic happen. Before her move into airline management, she achieved a master’s degree in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering, and put this to good use in the maintenance hangar.
Although oil slicks have now been swapped for slick suits, the Frenchwoman isn’t afraid of rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty in the boardroom. Her CV includes a string of senior roles at Air France-KLM and more recently she served as chief executive of CityJet and later Flybe. She’s known as a leader who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and her latest position only serves to solidify this reputation.