Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is struggling to contain the political fallout from investigations into the inner workings of his government after a close ally who heads the state holding company was forced to resign in the wake of damaging message correspondence.
Thomas Schmid stepped down as chief executive officer of OeBAG after leaked messages showed how he had
orchestrated his own appointment in part by hand-picking the board members charged with the selection process. The exchanges also revealed derogatory comments about trade unions and refugees, prompting a public outcry that hastened his departure.
Schmid’s departure and a growing number investigations raise the stakes for Kurz to stay on top of a political scandal that’s engulfing his closest circle. The probes stem from a leaked video of his former coalition partner, Heinz-Christian Strache, that showed him in 2019 discussing corruption practices on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.
A former finance ministry official, Schmid will also resign from supervisory board positions at OMV AG, Verbund AG and Telekom Austria AG, companies in which the Austrian state owns stakes. He’s not commented or appeared in public since his departure.