Aviation

Velocity Frequent Flyer’s CEO to fly the coop

Virgin Australia Group has announced the resignation of Velocity Frequent Flyer chief Karl Schuster, after nearly five years with the company.

During his tenure, Schuster helped grow Velocity to be one of Australia’s largest loyalty programs, nearly doubling membership from 5.3 million to more than 10 million members.

Velocity’s annual revenue grew to more $411 million under Schuster, and the loyalty program has launched a number of partnerships with brands such as Flybuys, Optus, Ola, Freedom, and Westpac.

Virgin Australia assumed full ownership of Velocity Frequent Flyer in November last year after buying back its 35 per cent stake of the lucrative business from Affinity Partners for $700 million.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said Schuster’s dedication and “unwavering commitment” as CEO of Velocity has been instrumental in driving the program’s growth.

“Velocity plays a very important role in the group’s future and Karl has helped set up the program for success in its next phase,” Scurrah said.

“I would like to thank Karl for his contribution to Velocity and the group during his time here, and would like to wish him all the very best for his future.”

Commenting on his departure, Schuster said: “It has been an honour to lead the Velocity team since 2015 and I am incredibly proud of everything the team has achieved during this time.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make; however, the business is now in a place where I feel the time is right for me to step down as CEO. With Velocity once again back in the Virgin Australia Group, this will only continue to help deliver results for the group.

“I would like to thank the team, Paul and my colleagues for their ongoing support and look forward to watching the future success of this wonderful business.”

Former Velocity CEO Neil Thompson will lead the business in the interim while a global recruitment process is finalised. Schuster will finish with the group on 31 January.

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