Aviation

Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah to exit, replacement revealed

Numerous reports of Paul Scurrah’s imminent departure from Virgin Australia have finally been confirmed, as the embattled airline prepares to emerge from administration under new ownership.

Despite backing Scurrah to continue leading Virgin as its CEO and managing director ever since it was picked by the administrators to take over Australia’s second-largest carrier, it appears Bain Capital has had a change of heart.

Scurrah, who joined Virgin in March last year, will step down from his role upon completion of the airline’s sale to Bain, which is expected to happen in early November.

Joint administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said Scurrah has done “an outstanding job” supporting he and his team of fellow administrators through the process.

“His exceptional leadership enabled us to stabilise the business and achieve a sale in a timely and orderly manner,” Strawbridge said.

“It is a testament to his leadership that we have been able to complete this sale and the business is well-positioned to play its vital role in the rebuilding of the Australian aviation industry and economy more broadly.”

Bain managing director Mike Murphy said: “Paul has provided the leadership to enable Virgin Australia to emerge from voluntary administration as a well-capitalised, best-in-class carrier.

“His personal commitment and determination to lead Virgin Australia through such a turbulent period is a credit to him.”

Scurrah said he made the decision to step down after some “long discussions” with his family.

“The time feels right, and I know the business will be in good hands,” he said.

“I am proud of that work that has been completed to date to transition the business and remove complexity, allowing the airline to compete effectively once demand returns.

“I want to thank all of our team members who have continued to support and work tirelessly to get the company through to this stage. I will forever be proud of what we have done here. It is the people that make this airline the great place it is, and I wish them all the best.

“I was extremely humbled by the warmth with which I was embraced on day one and for the unwavering support afforded to me throughout this ongoing major industry crisis.”

Scurrah also thanked Strawbridge and his team at Deloitte, as well as Virgin’s legal and financial advisers, for their efforts to ensure the airline’s future.

“I won’t forget the support they provided me and the team,” he said.

“I have also appreciated working with Bain Capital in recent months and recognise the significant contribution they have made to Virgin Australia’s long-term future. They have demonstrated a deep understanding of aviation and our culture.”

Scurrah revealed that former Jetstar CEO and Bain executive Jayne Hrdlicka, who was pivotal in the private equity firm’s bid, will take over in the top role at Virgin once the sale is completed.

“Jayne has strong aviation credentials. She is very focused on seeing the business succeed and I wish Virgin Australia well under her leadership,” he said.

Jayne Hrdlicka

The Transport Workers’ Union suspended negotiations on new enterprise agreements at the airline soon after reports emerged of Scurrah’s planned exit, and wrote to Bain seeking confirmation about changes at the airline and to the federal government appealing again for it to protect jobs at Virgin.

Strawbridge acknowledged speculation about the future shape of the airline, and said he had reaffirmed with Bain that Virgin will not be repositioned as a low-cost carrier.

“Virgin Australia will be a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering great value to customers by delivering a distinctive Virgin experience at competitive prices,” Strawbridge said.

“This will appeal to the full spectrum of travellers, from premium corporate through to more budget-focused customers.”

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said the joint administrator’s statement today was “encouraging”.

“This is an important step forward, but we still have serious concerns about the future of Virgin,” he said.

“The statement makes no mention of previous commitments to regional routes, the international division, 6,000 jobs or fleet numbers.

“We are seeking a meeting with Bain Capital to discuss these issues and our delegates will decide in the coming days about the future of industrial talks with the airline.

“We sincerely hope that the veil of secrecy and background shenanigans on display over the past few days is not repeated. Trust must be at the heart of Bain’s dealings.”



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Qantas proposes scrapping bonuses if it is “harmed”

Qantas has copped some bad press lately, but the silver lining is it’s a great excuse for Alan Joyce to get a nice makeover!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX mid-air emergencies revealed in new investigation

Surprisingly the investigation came from the ABC and not from Air Crash Investigation, which kind of puts the show to shame a bit.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Western travel agents banned from booking Hajj pilgrimage

Those looking to complete Hajj will have to enter the Hajj lottery, which you are still astronomically more likely to win than the actual lottery.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Virtuoso uncovers key differences in how each generation travels

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly staff are conducting our own research to tap into the zoomer market by teaching the office dog TikTok dances. It’s not going well.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean Group completes its comeback with all ships back at sea

To honour the milestone, all 63 ships in the group’s fleet sounded their horns at once, which most likely scared the sh*t out of nearby fishing boats and unsuspecting wales across the world.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Virgin teams up with Flight Centre for money-can’t-buy workshop

It’s the second time a Flight Centre partnership has come up this week and it’s only Tuesday! Skroo must be feeling extra convivial this week.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“It’s more like a bribe”: Unions slam Qantas’ $5,000 ‘thank you’ payment

Speaking of bribes, if anyone would like to bribe us with an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan we promise to give you a good review on TripAdvisor.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Solomon Islands to reduce mandatory quarantine

Good news for those looking to travel across the Pacific Islands! Not so good news for those who enjoy being confined to a hotel room for days on end.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Oakwood solidifies Aussie presence with full opening of Melbourne luxury property

Looking to treat yourself? Don’t get a chocolate at the shops, book yourself a stay at the new Oakwood property in Melbourne (or do both)!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight Centre signs landmark agreement with Rex as pilots prepare for industrial action

While seemingly struggling to win popularity among its pilots, the regional carrier has turned to its agency partners for reassurance.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Princess reveals The Real Love Boat crew, celebrates ‘Top Gun Agents’

Say a prayer for the poor souls tasked with wrangling a ship full of reality dating contestants hell-bent on getting frisky at sea.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

How your clients can skip the rebound chaos with South America

Got clients keen to travel but hoping to avoid inflated prices and hoards of European Summer revellers? We’ve got the answer for you.

Share

CommentComments