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

Breaking News

Destinations

Perth and WA’s Peel region to enter three-day lockdown

The WA government has announced a snap three-day lockdown for Perth and the Peel region, following a community case of COVID-19.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“Businesses are keen to get back on the road”: CTM enjoying return to profitability

Jamie Pherous has been spotted doing a few cartwheels down the office hallway at Corporate Travel Management in celebration of these positive numbers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Bit of a stretch”: Aussie comedian cops billion-dollar charge for extra legroom on Qantas flight

Aussie funnyman Dave O’Neil got quite the shock while trying to book extra legroom on a recent flight with the flying kangaroo.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Victorian government comes up with $633m plan to reboot tourism

Were you unable to attend the Victorian Tourism Conference on Wednesday? Well, we didn’t go either, so we’re very grateful to have received this press release.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Uniworld launches its first ‘Mystery Cruise’

The river cruise line is spicing up its range with a one-off mystery itinerary, just in case you need more than a few beers to wake up somewhere unexpected.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

PICTURES: Crystalbrook is bringing five-star eco-luxury to Newcastle

Newcastle’s iconic Roundhouse building has been transformed into the city’s first five-star hotel, with rooftop dining to boot.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar promotes ‘Limited Time Only’ sale with stunning outdoor artworks

The budget carrier has embraced its inner-Banksy to create this latest promo campaign.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Facebook removes French town’s page, confusing it for an English swearword

Facebook has been left red-faced after making social media management a bitch for the town of Bitche by removing its page.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Expedia’s brand positioning takes new direction

The online travel giant has recalibrated its compass and is heading in a new direction. However, that’s not to suggest it got completely lost.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Trans-Tasman flyer charged for threatening to blow up plane over wine spat

Travel Weekly staff have had similar problems at Friday knock-off drinks, but concede that threatening to blow up a plane is more serious than peeing in a pot plant.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

The Travel Corporation to go carbon neutral by 2030

TTC is celebrating Earth Day with a new five-step plan to tackle climate change, while Travel Weekly staff are celebrating by filling our KeepCups to the brim with champers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas now has its very own gin

Work at Qantas? Noticed a few of your colleagues staggering around the office and slurring their words? Discover the cause here.

Share

CommentComments