New EasyJet chairman to engage with former chief
Published 18/04/2013 | 04:00
EasyJet has said John Barton, chairman of British fashion retailer Next, will become its new chairman next month, as the carrier plans to expand its fleet.
Mr Barton (68), who is also chairman of insurance group Catlin, will need to manage fractious relations with founder and largest shareholder Stelios Haji-Ioannou and ensure growth continues at Europe's second-largest budget airline by passengers after Ryanair
"One of Barton's most important jobs will be to engage with Stelios because tensions between him and the board have been a distraction," said Espirito Santo analyst Gerald Khoo.
Mr Stelios, whose family controls 37pc of EasyJet shares, quit the airline's board in 2010 after a row over strategy. Since then, he has been critical of many of the airline's plans.
Having founded the low-cost carrier in 1995, Mr Stelios tried to oust the chairman Mike Rake – whom Mr Barton will replace – last year but the attempt was rebuffed by investors.