News that Andy Harrison is stepping down as easyJet chief executive got me wondering - there do seem to have been an awful lot of changes at the top of European airlines this year. A quick count shows no less than eight out of the top 20 European airlines by revenue in the latest Airline Business airline rankings have changed CEO this year - a mix of moving onward and upward, being pushed out or getting frustrated at the pace of reforms. I don't know if its a record, but I'd wager this is the only time you'll see more changes at the top of Europe's 20 leading carriers then changes in manager at England's 20 premier league clubs in a calendar year (the usually high turnover in football managers I make an unusually low 7 since January including two each at Portsmouth and Newcastle).
Here's a list of who's gone where in 2009 - shout if there are any I have missed!
Top 20 airlines in Europe by revenue (2008)
Lufthansa - no change though its subsidiary Swiss appointed Harry Hohmeister
as its new chief executive in April to replace Christoph Franz, who moved to become Lufthansa's deputy chairman
Iberia - Fernando Conte resigned in July, replaced by Antonio Vazquez
THY Turkish Airlines
EasyJet - Andrew Harrison to step down summer 2010
Aeroflot - Valery Okulov replaced in April by Vitaly Savelyev
Austrian Airlines - Alfred Otsch quit in January, replaced by Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth
Finnair - Jukka Hienonen announced he was quitting in July amid frustrations in pushing through reforms with the unions. Telecom executive Mika Vehvilainen will takeover in Feburary next year
Aer Lingus - Dermot Mannion stepped down from the struggling carrier in April and has since been succeeded by Christoph Mueller
BMI - Jet Airways chief executive Wolfgang Prock-Schauer took over as BMI chief executive in October following Lufthansa's acquisition of the carrier, with former CEO Nigel Turner becoming deputy chairman
S7 Airlines - Vladislav Filev moved up to take the top job at S7 Group and was succeeded at the airline by first deputy general director Vladimir Ob'edkov