Virgin Australia’s executive team is set to have a whole new look post-administration, with the embattled airline confirming more departures.
It turns out that a number of senior execs have quietly exited the Virgin building since Bain Capital’s takeover deal was approved by creditors last month.
The airline confirmed to Travel Weekly recent reports that chief strategy officer Michael Jones, head of corporate sales Anne Elliot and general manager of alliances and international sales Phil Squires are among those that are no longer at Virgin.
The executive exodus follows the resignation of chief experience officer Danielle Keighery back in August, who is understood to have joined the Bank of Queensland in a similar role.
Yesterday, it was announced that Virgin CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah would step down from his role following the completion of the airline’s sale to Bain, which is expected to happen in early November.
His replacement will be former Jetstar CEO and Bain executive Jayne Hrdlicka, who was pivotal in the private equity firm’s bid.
However, business expert Dr Warren Staples from RMIT University said Hrdlicka’s appointment signals that Bain are looking to slash costs, improve the balance sheet, and exit via listing or making a quick sale – “a classic pump and dump strategy”.
“If Virgin do head down the lowest-cost path then it’s hard to see this price war with Jetstar ending successfully for them. It feels like the worst of Australian aviation history repeating,” he said.
“In a worrying sign that corporate Australia is perhaps too forgiving, Richard Branson has returned as a five per cent shareholder while paying for none of the cost of the previous iteration of Virgin’s failure.”
Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons/Commander Keane