Ex-Spanair chief Nygaard to be new Vueling CEO

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Spanish budget carrier Vueling Airlines has appointed former Spanair chief Lars Nygaard as its new CEO following its recent organisational overhaul.

Barcelona-based Vueling underwent a management shake-up earlier this month in the wake of a strategy and management rift between its co-founders and key shareholder Grupo Planeto’s Inversiones Hemisferios.

As part of a deal to restore shareholder relations, Vueling co-founders CEO Carlos Munoz and chief operating officer Lazaro Ros agreed to step down from their executive roles effective from 25 November. Vueling chairwoman Barbara Cassini is also leaving her position, to be succeeded by Josep Pique.

Vueling has named Nygaard as its new CEO following unanimous agreement from its board, where Inversiones Hemisferios recently regained representation.

It says: “Nygaard will take over from the current chief executive and founder of the airline, Carlos Munoz, who will remain as a member of its board of directors.”

Nygaard became CEO of SAS Group’s Spanair in October 2005, after being promoted from the role of chief financial and chief commercial officer.

Earlier this month Nygaard, who has been with SAS since 1991, revealed he was leaving Spanair for a new position outside of SAS Group. He will take up the Vueling post no later than 1 January 2008.

Vueling, which has been struggling financially, recently slowed its growth plans and warned of possible full-year losses. It is due to stage an extraordinary general meeting on 26 November, when its strategic options – such as a merger or acquisition with another low-cost carrier – will be reviewed.