Changes at the top at easyJet

EasyJet’s senior management team is evolving at a rapid pace these days, with 2009 losses including chairman Sir Colin Chandler, group finance director Jeff Carr, procurement director Neil Mills and chief commercial officer Saad Hammad.

EasyJet A319.jpg

Picture credit: easyJet airline company ltd.

The latest of these departures, Carr and Mills, have been announced over the last week. Carr is leaving to take on the chief financial officer’s role at UK transport firm FirstGroup and the search has begun for his successor. Andrew Lobbenberg of ABN AMRO believes Carr to be very highly regarded by investors, adding: “This news will and should be regarded as a loss to the company.”

Procurement director Mills, who has gone to Middle East start-up budget carrier FlyDubai as chief financial officer, was with easyJet for 12 years and saw the airline evolve from just four aircraft. He left in early April and will be replaced by former Mandala Airlines chief Warwick Brady on 6 May.

Brady was chief of Indonesian carrier Mandala Airlines, chief operating officer of India’s Air Deccan and he used to head Ryanair’s London Stansted operations. Lobbenberg says he has a tough reputation as a cost manager.

The loss of Carr and Mills comes on top of the imminent retirement of chairman Sir Colin Chandler and the departure of chief commercial officer Saad Hammad, who left earlier this year to become managing director for operations, Europe, at private equity firm The Gores Group.

EasyJet has named Sir Michael Rake, who is chair of telecom company BT and a former chair of financial firm KPMG International, as deputy chairman. Senior independent director Sir David Michels will become interim chairman once Chandler leaves, until a permanent successor is named.

Last year there was conflict between easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the airline’s board over the carrier’s strategy. While expressing a like for easyJet’s short- and long-term trading prospects, Lobbenberg says: “Management and board instability will weaken sentiment and offer sceptics more fertile ground for their views.”

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One Response to Changes at the top at easyJet

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