ÖBAG Introduces “Extended Board” and Appoints two Industry Experts as Executive Directors
Carola Wahl and Robert Stajic, together with Edith Hlawati, will form the newly created “Extended Management Board” as of February. Interim CEO Christine Catasta is leaving, but will remain associated with ÖBAG via supervisory board functions. Director Maximilian Schnödl returns to the USA for family reasons.
The Austrian state-owned holding company ÖBAG will operate with a new management structure as of February: Edith Hlawati is going to introduce an “Extended Management Board” when she takes up her position as CEO, thus further strengthening ÖBAG’s industry expertise and intensifying the control function via the respective supervisory boards of the portfolio companies.
It is planned that the two Executive Directors represent ÖBAG in the supervisory boards of the listed portfolio companies and safeguard the shareholder interests there. At the same time, they are to accompany the companies in the current transformation processes with their expertise. Within ÖBAG, all significant, cross-portfolio decisions shall be presented to the new body and decided jointly.
“With this measure, we are advancing the previous four-eyes principle to a six-eyes principle for all significant decisions,” says Edith Hlawati. “At the same time, we will also significantly strengthen our industry expertise in the management team, which will serve the portfolio companies. I am pleased to welcome two accomplished experts and business leaders — Carola Wahl and Robert Stajic — for ÖBAG’s next chapter.”
Many years of expertise
Carola Wahl has many years of management experience in the telecommunications industry (Deutsche Telekom) and in the insurance industry (AXA Switzerland). Previously, as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, she focused on the digital-, media- and telecommunications-industries. She currently works as an independent consultant and is active in various supervisory board functions. Carola Wahl holds an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin, and completed several executive management programs, amongst others at the London Business School and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Robert Stajic started his professional career at the management consulting firm McKinsey before joining OMV, where he was in charge of strategy development for the upstream division and then played a significant role in the company’s transformation office. Since 2018, Stajic has been responsible for strategy development and transformation as a member of the top management at Semperit AG. Robert Stajic graduated from the Vienna University of Technology and completed an MBA at the IESE Business School in Spain.
Current interim board member Christine Catasta and ÖBAG director Maximilian Schnödl will leave ÖBAG at the end of January. Ms. Catasta plans to accept supervisory board mandates outside ÖBAG and will also remain associated with ÖBAG within the scope of her continuing supervisory board mandates at Verbund and Austrian Airlines. Mr. Schnödl will return to his family in the USA, as the Covid pandemic made it impossible for his family to relocate to Vienna.
Mr. Schnödl will continue to serve on the Supervisory Board of Austrian Post until the regular Annual General Meeting. Likewise, Christine Catasta will exercise her supervisory board mandates at Telekom Austria, OMV, Casinos Austria and BIG until the respective next regular Annual General Meetings. It is planned, subject to the approval of the relevant bodies, to propose the new Executive Directors as candidates for the Supervisory Board for election at the respective Annual General Meetings in 2022.
“I deeply appreciate Christine Catasta’s and Maximilian Schnödl’s commitment and leadership within ÖBAG as they took on responsibility in a highly professional manner during this interim phase and have done an excellent job,” said Helmut Kern, Chairman of the ÖBAG Supervisory Board. “Our portfolio companies are developing very successfully; the team is well positioned and looking forward to this new chapter,” Kern added.
Wahl and Stajic will legally become authorized signatories of ÖBAG. Edith Hlawati as CEO will retain ultimate responsibility, as provided for by law and statute.