Monarch Group chief executive Conrad Clifford has stepped down from his position as chief executive of the UK-based travel firm, after less than 18 months on the job.

Monarch executive chairman Iain Rawlinson will take over from Clifford while a replacement is sought.

"We are already engaged in the process of finding a replacement, with a strong focus on the airline growth plan and unlocking the full benefits of Monarch being a unified travel group," said Rawlinson in a statement.

"The group has made a satisfactory start to the new financial year, with the performance of our three operating divisions in line with the business plan."

Clifford was appointed chief executive of Monarch Group - which includes UK leisure carrier Monarch Airlines - in September 2010.

He joined from Emirates, where he had held the role of vice-president for UK and Ireland. Prior to that he was chief executive of Virgin Nigeria.

Clifford's resignation comes just over a year after the departure of Monarch Airlines managing director Tim Jeans.

Monarch Airlines operates a fleet of 30 aircraft on scheduled and charter flights from several UK airports, among them London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester and Birmingham.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news