Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder and chairman of UK low-cost airline EasyJet, will resign at the airline's 2003 annual general meeting in a move designed to allay investor anxieties over corporate governance. His replacement will be Sir Colin Chandler, chairman of UK defence group Vickers.

The company will still be run by chief executive Ray Webster, and its strategy will not change, says EasyJet.

Institutional investors raised concerns that many board members were either major shareholders - such as Haji-Ioannou, who owns 27.6% - or airline executives, both of which created conflicts of interest. One shareholder, Cooperative Insurance Services, opposed adopting the accounts at the last annual general meeting, probably as a sign of protest.

The rest of the airline's board will move to a new company, EasyJet Limited, which is wholly owned by EasyJet plc and will run the airline. Webster and finance director Chris Walton will remain on the plc's board. Analyst Paul Denley of Williams de Broe described the change as "a case of share ownership conflicting with management" which "didn't matter as much" earlier in EasyJet's life.

Source: Flight International