Chairman of El Al Israel Airlines, Eli Defes steps down citing undisclosed medical condition

In a statement, Eli Defes, chairman of El Al Israel Airlines stated, he is stepping down with immediate effect due to an undisclosed medical condition.

In 2015, Defes had joined El Al’s board and became its chairman in 2017.

It is not immediately clear who would be replacing Defes, although most likely it would be one of the vice chairpeople, Tamar Mozes-Borovitz or Yehuda Levy.

The Israeli carrier is fighting strong headwinds with the Wuhan Coronavirus adding compounding the difficulties facing the airliner forcing it to suspend flights and furlough the bulk of its workforce.

It has reported losses during the last two years and has piled up debt to renew its fleet.

In July 2020, U.S. citizen Eli Rozenberg who is a resident in Israel, offered to invest $75 million into the airline in return for a 45% stake.

Incidentally, El Al is in advanced talks with the government for a bailout package in order to avoid bankruptcy.

The Israeli government has offered $250 million in bank loans in exchange for El Al issuing $150 million in shares, which the state will purchase if no one else does, in a public offering.

El Al’s board has yet to vote on Rozenberg’s offer, which would also need shareholders’ approval.

“I have full confidence in the company’s management and board members who will know how to lead El Al to beyond this crisis to a more stable and secure future,” wrote Defes in his resignation letter.

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