Virgin Aust CEO to leave 'within weeks'

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 18, 2020

Virgin Australia's CEO Paul Scurrah will step down from his role in coming weeks after the airline's sale to United States private equity firm Bain Capital is finalised.

"We managed not only to secure the future of the company, but also to roll back the business to ensure it is well positioned for Bain Capital for many years to come".

Mr Scurrah is expected to stay as Virgin's chief executive and managing director until at least early November while final deeds agreements are settled.

Creditors owed almost A$7 billion (S$6.78 billion) last month approved Bain's purchase of the airline, which entered voluntary administration in April after suffering from a sharp plunge in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That understanding was clearly not long for this world as Scurrah and Bain knocked heads over the future direction of the airline.

The airline struggled under travel bans imposed by the Australian government due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Scurrah said that Virgin's plan under Bain is to name U.S. business executive Jayne Hrdlicka as the company's next CEO, likely to be announced next month.

Deloitte's Vaughan Strawbridge, who led the sale, reconfirmed Bain's commitment to operating a full-service carrier.

Before the pandemic, Virgin had spent a decade transforming itself from a low-priced carrier to a full-service rival to Qantas competing for corporate travellers.

Paul Scurrah
Virgin Australia CEO to step down from his role after airline reported losses of $349million

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

He said it has been a "great privilege" to have run the airline for the past 18 months, even through "the most hard time in aviation history".

Ms Hrdlicka's appointment has infuriated Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine, who declared the future of the airline was now uncertain.

Virgin was originally launched as a budget airline, but had spent years transforming itself into a full-service carrier.

Bain and Scurrah reportedly clashed over exactly how much of a budget airline Virgin 2.0 should be, the size of Virgin's fleet, and other strategic points.

National carrier Qantas reported an annual loss of almost A$2bn ($1.4bn; £1bn). If the plan and scope of the airline as outlined in August by Bain Capital has already been scrapped then this is a serious betrayal that must be addressed, ' he said.

The airline is not expected to shift operationally and become a "low-cost" airline, similar to Tiger Australia.

The airline had previously held around 31% of Australia's domestic routes, while Qantas controlled roughly 58% of the market.

These were the details of the news Virgin Australia's Paul Scurrah will be leaving for this day.

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