Sunday 18 August 2019

EasyJet names new chief executive as McCall bows out

Johan Lundgren, a travel sector veteran, joins from tour operator TUI, where he was group deputy chief executive.

New easyJet CEO
New easyJet CEO

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Budget airline EasyJet has appointed Johan Lundgren as its new chief executive, replacing the long serving Carolyn McCall.

Mr Lundgren, a travel sector veteran, joins from tour operator TUI, where he was group deputy chief executive.

He will take up the top job at EasyJet on December 1, with Ms McCall stepping down from the board on November 30.

Outgoing easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall (PA)

She will remain with the airline until the end of the year to assist with the transition, the company said.

Shares in EasyJet closed up 0.4%, or 5p, to 1,275p on the London Stock Exchange.

Chairman John Barton said: “Johan has proven experience in European travel as chief executive and in broader group roles.

EasyJet share price since Carolyn McCall joined as chief executive (PA).

“He is strategic yet operationally focused and has proved himself to be a customer-centric, charismatic and successful leader.

“Finally, I wanted to reiterate everyone at EasyJet’s thanks to Carolyn for all she has done for the airline and to wish her well in her exciting new role.”

The FTSE 100 firm will pay Mr Lundgren an annual salary of £740,000, while handing him the opportunity to bank a maximum yearly bonus of 200% of his salary.

Under a long-term incentive plan (LTIP), his awards will be set at 250% of his salary, with a two-year holding period after vesting.

It means his first LTIP award will not vest until December 2020 and will be held until December 2022.

Mr Lundgren said: “I have flown with and been a fan of EasyJet and its wonderful people for many years.

“This is an exciting time to be joining Europe’s leading airline. Carolyn has built a fantastic team and with them I look forward to contributing to EasyJet’s continued success.”

In July, EasyJet announced that Ms McCall will join ITV as the broadcaster’s first ever female chief executive in January 2018.

She has headed up the low-cost airline since 2010, and has been widely praised for her tenure at EasyJet and for raising the profile of women in business.

But she leaves the low-cost carrier at a difficult time for the sector in Britain, with Brexit storm clouds gathering over the travel industry.

The pound’s collapse has meant less people travelling overseas and, more starkly, British airlines are at risk of being grounded unless Tory ministers strike an aviation deal with the EU before March 2019.

To mitigate the impact, EasyJet has applied for a new air operator’s certificate (AOC) in Austria to allow it to continue flying in the European Union after Britain’s divorce from the bloc.

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