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easyJet appoints new CEO, in a month filled with executive changes for LCCs


easyJet has announced the appointment of Carolyn McCall, current CEO of Guardian Media Group (since 2006), as the LCC’s next CEO, continuing on a tradition of appointing CEOs from outside the company with no previous airline management experience.

Ms McCall is replacing Andy Harrison, who will take up the position of CEO of hotel and restaurant chain, Whitbread, and is set to depart the airline in Jun-2010. Ms McCall is expected to join easyJet over the European Summer, but a date has not yet been determined.

easyJet described Ms McCall as having a “proven track record of successful operational delivery in a fast changing on-line consumer facing business combined with extensive plc Board and government and lobbying experience”. She commented that her priority as CEO will be to “build on easyJet’s strengths: a strong consumer proposition, leadership positions in many of Europe's key airports, and an operating model built around simplicity and low cost”.

Credit Suisse described Ms McCall as an “unknown quantity”, but added that she has a good track record and will focus the market on the increasing importance of ancillary revenue to easyJet's business model. During her four years as CEO of GMG, Ms McCall built the Guardian's website into one of the world's most-read newspaper sites, with approximately 37 million unique users worldwide, of which two thirds are from outside the UK

Virgin Blue, WestJet, Tiger Australia, Baboo all with new CEOs

The easyJet CEO announcement follows several other high-profile LCC executive appointments in recent weeks:

Major CEO executive announcements: Mar-2010







Virgin Blue

CEO and Managing Director

John Borghetti. Mr Borghetti resigned from Qantas in May-2008, after 36 years of employment at the carrier. Mr Borghetti was a Senior Executive at the airline and was among a handful of executives tipped to replace Geoff Dixon in Nov-2008

Brett Godfrey


Outgoing CEO, Brett Godfrey, commented that Mr Borghetti’s first job would be to roll out the carrier’s “Airline of the Future project”, in which it will introduce aircraft configured with three classes, Premium Economy, "a traditional economy" and a "low-cost, user-pays model".


Virgin Blue Chairman, Neil Chatfield, stated Mr Borghetti 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”.


President and CEO

Gregg Sartsky, current Executive VP of Operations

Sean Durfy, resigning for personal reasons


Mr Saretsky has stated his first priority for the carrier is to establish codeshares with other airlines to offer services to Asia, Europe and South America, commenting, "our goal is to have good coverage on all continents. Because of our reputation we have lots of airlines beating a trail to our door. We're going to be pretty choosy. We're going to pick those that have the same service culture and a great reputation". See related article: Durfy a loss to WestJet at a vital time; 'New World Carriers' moving to the next level

Tiger Airways

Managing Director of Tiger Airways Australia

Crawford Rix, current Managing Director of bmibaby

Shelly Roberts, who “intends to take a well deserved break”

No date announced as yet

Tiger Airways CEO, Tony Davis, stated it would be Mr Rix’s job to expand the carrier into the “next phase of development” involving the expansion of its business beyond its current nine aircraft. Mr Davis commented, “we've got another 50 aircraft to deliver into Tiger, and we expect a lot of those to be finding their way into the Australian market. His [Mr Rix’s] job is to ensure that he maximises the opportunity for as many of those aircraft as possible”.



Jean de Lapasse, currently in a Regional Director position at Air France KLM

Jean de Lapasse, departing due to personal reasons



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