Rubesa stays put as Rail Baltica CEO

The management board of RB Rail, the company coordinating the implementation of the Rail Baltica railway project, and its CEO Baiba Rubesa will carry on with their work, the RB Rail supervisory board decided March 22.

Riia Sillave, chairperson of the RB Rail supervisory board, said after the board meeting that the supervisory board had decided that the management board has to carry on with its work in the present composition, but the supervisory board will see to it that the RB Rail management improves its performance.

The RB Rail supervisory board has taken into consideration RB Rail shareholders’ vote of no-confidence in Rubesa, but there was no separate discussion on her possible sacking.

As Sillave emphasized, it is essential to bear in mind that Rail Baltica is a highly significant project for all three Baltic states. It is therefore essential for work on the project to continue, and it is the management board’s duty to advance the project, improving its performance in the project’s management and communication.

Representatives of the RB Rail supervisory board declined to give more detailed comments, for example, they would not comment on the European Commission’s calls to the Baltic states to agree on details and overcome mutual confidence issues.

Moving ahead with the project’s implementation is currently the main important task, the RB Rail supervisory board believes.

The supervisory board did not decide separately on Rubesa’s possible sacking.

As reported, Estonian and Lithuanian shareholders in RB Rail on February 1 expressed no-confidence in Rubesa as the company’s CEO and chairperson of the management board, while Andris Linuzs, the head of Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas (EDzL), the Latvian shareholder in RB Rail, abstained from voting. After the shareholders’ meeting, Rubesa said at a news conference that she has been facing constant opposition from some members of the company’s supervisory board and beneficial owners.

To remove Rubesa from office, at least four out of six members of the RB Rail supervisory board, but at least one from each country, would have to vote for her sacking.

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskkis (Greens/Farmers) has affirmed Latvia’s support for Rubesa, calling at the same time that compromise solutions with Estonia and Lithuania. In an interview with LNT commercial TV channel on Wednesday the premier said that Rubesa’s chances of keeping her job were solid because Latvia would not permit any shakeups at the moment. Kucinskis admitted however that no institution can work in a situation of permanent conflict in the long term.

Lithuanian Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis said on Wednesday that Rubesa should resign amid lack of confidence from the majority of RB Rail shareholders.

Rubesa was elected to head the RB Rail board in October of 2015. Before taking the post, she has headed Statoil Latvia, worked in Statoil's branch in Azerbaijan and was on the supervisory board of the Latvian bank Citadele. Her current term in office ends in October 2018.

RB Rail is a joint venture established by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to oversee the implementation of the Rail Baltica project. The shareholders of RB Rail are Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas and Rail Baltic Estonia.

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