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Virgin Blue appoints former Qantas exec as CEO

Australia-based Virgin Blue has appointed former Qantas Airways executive John Borghetti as CEO and managing director replacing Brett Godfrey, who is retiring, from 8 May.

Borghetti, 54, was executive general manager at Qantas for six years before he left the carrier in May 2008, says Virgin Blue. He has 36 years aviation experience, it adds.

He was in charge of domestic and international operations at Qantas, including network operations, scheduling and pricing, sales and marketing, crew, customer service, product and brand, says Virgin Blue.

Borghetti was responsible for all full-service airlines in the Qantas group and during his tenure as executive general manager, the company achieved its highest reported profit of over A$1.4 billion ($1.3 billion), it adds.

Prior to this position, he headed Qantas' global sales and marketing operations.

Before his departure from Qantas, Borghetti was seen as one of the contenders for the job of CEO after Geoff Dixon's retirement in late 2008. However, that job eventually went to Alan Joyce.

Virgin Blue chairman Neil Chatfield says: "We are delighted to have John join us. He is a highly regarded executive with deep aviation experience and insights; proven strategic capabilities and strong marketing credentials. Nobody knows the market better and he is passionate about the aviation business."

Borghetti says Virgin Blue is a "great business with a great team and great culture".

"The company is in good shape and is exceptionally well placed to build on its strengths and embrace revenue growth opportunities ahead. I look forward to work with the team to create an even more competitive environment for air travellers - domestic and international," he adds.

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