Aviation

Etihad to transform into mid-sized carrier, with mass exodus of executives

Etihad Airways has announced a spate of executive exits as the first step in its transformation into a mid-sized carrier.

As part of a new operational model, the airline has begun to streamline its organisational structure to create a leaner executive team, including its chief commercial officer, its senior vice president of sales and distribution, its chief transformation officer, and chief risk and compliance officer.

“After our best-ever Q1 performance, none of us could have predicted the challenges that lay ahead in the remainder of this year,” Etihad CEO Tony Douglas said.

“As a responsible business, we can no longer continue to incrementally adapt to a marketplace that we believe has changed for the foreseeable future.

“That is why we are taking definitive and decisive action to adjust our business and position ourselves proudly as a mid-sized carrier.

“The first stage of this is an operational model change that will see us restructure our senior leadership team and our organisation to allow us to continue delivering on our mandate, ensuring long-term sustainability, and contributing to the growth and prominence of Abu Dhabi.”

As part of the restructure, chief commercial officer Robin Kamark has left the business, with business units within commercial to be separated and transferred under the leadership of Mohammad Al Bulooki (chief operating officer), Adam Boukadida (chief financial officer), and Terry Daly, who will assume the role of executive director guest experience, brand and marketing.

Bulooki will assume responsibility for network planning, sales, revenue management, cargo and logistics, commercial strategy planning, and alliances, in addition to his existing portfolio.

As part of his new role, Daly will lead the marketing, brand and partnerships department, and Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty programme, while continuing to oversee the customer experience and service Delivery department.

Duncan Bureau, senior vice president sales and distribution, will also be leaving Etihad with Martin Drew taking on Bureau’s portfolio alongside his current responsibilities as managing director for cargo and logistics.

Akram Alami, chief transformation officer, will also leave the company, with the procurement and supply chain department and transformation office moving under the leadership of Adam Boukadida.

Boukadida will also assume responsibility for the analytics department, which previously sat within the commercial division.

Ibrahim Nassir, chief human resources and organisational development officer, will have an additional responsibility for the asset management department.

Finally, Mutaz Saleh will leave his position as chief risk and compliance officer, after which Henning zur Hausen (general counsel) will take on additional responsibility for ethics and compliance, while risk and performance reporting will move under Adam Boukadida, forming part of a new corporate strategy team.

Business continuity will transfer to Ahmed Al Qubaisi, senior vice president government, international and communications.

Chief digital officer Frank Meyer, chief engineering officer Abdul Khaliq Saeed and chief investments officer Andrew Macfarlane will continue in their respective positions, also reporting to Douglas.

In July, Etihad received praise for its decision to offer refunds to all customers who purchased flight tickets in Australia which were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 26 March 2020, Etihad’s published COVID-19 rebooking policy did not provide these consumers with the right to a refund for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.

The airline updated this policy on 3 June 2020 to extend offers of refunds for flights scheduled to depart from Australia. Etihad was already offering refunds for flights departing from a number of other regions, including the US and European Union.

Following recent engagement with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s COVID-19 Taskforce, Etihad has now further revised its policy by offering refunds to all consumers in Australia who purchased tickets, regardless of where their flight was scheduled to depart from.

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