By Neil Halligan
Company says departure is part of planned transition process
Etihad Aviation Group President and CEO James Hogan is to step down in the second half of this year, the company has announced.
Hogan, along with the CFO James Rigney, are both to join an investment firm, as the airline giant begins the global search for a new CEO.
Hogan’s departure, the company said, is part of a transition process first initiated in May last year when the Etihad Aviation Group was formed after a corporate restructuring process.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Hogan said: “Along with the board and my 26,000 colleagues, I am very proud of what we have built together at Etihad and of the company’s substantial contribution to the UAE and to the development of Abu Dhabi. The last decade has seen incredible results but this only represents a first chapter in the story of Etihad.”
Hogan took the helm of Etihad Airways in 2006, with a mandate to develop a safe, best-in-class airline, operating on a sustainable commercial basis and contributing to the future economic success of Abu Dhabi.
Its core airline operation today serves 18.5 million passengers, reaching 112 destinations with a fleet of 120 aircraft, with another 178 on order. Its strategy of minority equity investments in key strategic partners – Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, airberlin, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia – has created the world’s seventh largest airline grouping, serving more than 120 million passengers a year, with a fleet of more than 700 aircraft reaching almost 350 unique destinations.
Commenting on Hogan’s time at Etihad, HE Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, chairman of the board of the Etihad Aviation Group said: “We are very grateful to James. In just ten years, he has overseen the growth of the company from a 22 plane regional carrier into a 120 aircraft global airline and aviation group, with seven airline equity partnerships which together serve more than 120 million guests every year.
“It is a business which has set new benchmarks for service and innovation. Under his leadership, the company has provided new opportunities for thousands of Emiratis and has been a critical element in the remarkable progress of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We look forward to James’ continued association with Abu Dhabi in new ways.”
He added: “To position the company for continued success in a challenging market, the Board and management team will continue an ongoing, company-wide strategic review. We must ensure that the airline is the right size and the right shape.
“We must continue to improve cost efficiency, productivity and revenue. We must progress and adjust our airline equity partnerships even as we remain committed to the strategy.”
Last month, Etihad Airways unveiled plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG. A new codeshare agreement with Lufthansa and an aircraft leasing agreement between airberlin and Lufthansa were also announced. As a minority shareholder, Etihad is actively participating in the next phase of Alitalia’s restructuring plan.
It is estimated that during 2016, the Group delivered a core economic contribution of more than $9.6 billion to Abu Dhabi; this is expected to grow to $18.2 billion by 2024.
Does not say much on company profitability and performance?