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Alitalia chief steps down

Alitalia's chief executive Silvano Cassano has stepped down with immediate effect.

The Italian flag carrier says Cassano is leaving "for personal reasons" and tendered his resignation to the board today.

Cassano had been appointed to the role in September 2014.

"The board of directors would like to put on record their thanks to [Cassano] for his efforts in helping Alitalia progress through the first stage of its business transformation programme," says Alitalia, which was relaunched on 1 January as a new, recapitalised entity with Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways as a 49% shareholder.

Alitalia chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo says the airline will announce a new chief executive "in due course" and that, in the meantime, Cassano's daily responsibilities will be split between operations chief Giancarlo Schisano and finance chief Duncan Naysmith. Both with report directly to di Montezemolo.

Prior to joining Alitalia, Cassano had held senior management positions at Italian shipping company Grandi Navi Veloci, fashion brand Benetton and car maker Fiat.

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