THE board of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation has decided to strip acting director Annita Demetriadou of her title and duties over offensive remarks she made regarding board members in what she thought had been a private conversation with an embattled employee, daily Politis reported on Friday.
Removing the CTO’s director requires a cabinet decision, which Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis is expected to request.
Demetriadou was heard discussing the case of the CTO’s former head of the Netherlands office, who was fired by the board over allegations of charging medical costs that had already been paid for by his health insurance to his expense account, with him, shortly after he was heard by the board.
Apparently, the man had been recording the board session, which took place last March, and left his recording device on afterward, when he moved to Demetriadou’s office for a chat.
In the recording, she was heard dismissing board members as “idiots”, apparently agreeing to the proposed course of action on how to reverse the board’s decision, and advising the fired employee to take the legal route against the board.
Indeed, the former Amsterdam office chief filed a lawsuit in Dutch courts against the CTO, citing wrongful termination, and submitted the recordings – of both the board meeting he had been called to, and the conversation with Demetriadou – as evidence.
The board decision to demote Demetriadou makes no mention of the recording, Politis said.
Being an acting director, she is subject to demotion without cause by the board.
However, by law, an appointee can only be relieved by the same authority that made the appointment – in this case, the tourism minister – hence the need for a cabinet decision.
Regardless, the board appears to have not been fully satisfied with Demetriadou’s performance as acting director.
Demetriadou’s demotion may be accompanied by disciplinary hearings, depending on the outcome of the lawsuit in the Netherlands.
If the recordings are deemed admissible by the court, Demetriadou may be found to have committed serious disciplinary offences, including bringing a public organisation, as well as her post, into disrepute.
The board, according to the paper, plans to ask the government to appoint a replacement director, but the stated policy to replace the CTO with a tourism undersecretariat will likely delay the decision.