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The chairman of the Am Oved publishing house has announced his resignation after the head of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini, helped get his candidate selected to head the company in an alleged undemocratic process.

Retired police officer Jackie Brei has been appointed managing director of Am Oved, owned by Hevrat HaOvdim, the Histadrut's holding company.

Am Oved's chairman, Ron Feinstein, said Brei's "scandalous" appointment had been foisted on him by Hevrat HaOvdim and Eini.

Brei's last position was deputy head of the police's investigations and intelligence division. Before that he served as head of the police's national economic crime unit. He will replace Yaron Sadan, who said several months ago he would retire at the end of 2011, after 12 years on the job.

Feinstein said that according to Am Oved's regulations, he was to interview candidates and recommend his choice to the Histadrut chairman.

"I narrowed the list down to four worthy candidates. When I said I had four candidates, Hevrat HaOvdim Director General Dudi Gil, Eini's man, said Eini had already decided on someone," Feinstein said. "It's the Histadrut chairman's prerogative to determine who will be the next managing director, but he can't dictate to us [to take] someone we haven't interviewed."

According to Feinstein, "They said time was pressing and we had to approve [Eini's choice]. I said that in that case I'm not staying. They're not literary people who know what they're talking about. Am Oved isn't some marginal publisher. It's one of the most important ones in Israel .... Maybe their candidate is good but they never even brought him to an interview. Staying under such a regime is simply impossible."

A Histadrut spokesman commented, "Mr. Brei's appointment was carried out according to regulations, at the board meeting of founder shareholders."

He said the board considered Brei and other candidates and unanimously chose him "based on his outstanding and varied professional and personal record."

Brei said, "For me this is a huge challenge to combine action with spirit, and I come from the field of action."