EasyJet chief Johan Lundgren to step down subsequent yr

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for freeRoula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favorite tales on this weekly e-newsletter.EasyJet’s chief govt Johan Lundgren is to depart the low-cost airline after seven years within the prime job and will probably be changed by chief monetary officer Kenton Jarvis.Lundgren, who began his profession as a tour information and joined easyJet in 2017, steered the airline by the pandemic disaster and has since sought to capitalise on the rebound in journey.Analysts mentioned choosing Jarvis, who joined easyJet in 2021 and beforehand ran journey firm Tui’s airline enterprise, as Lundgren’s successor signalled that the service would proceed with its present technique.From its predominant base at London Gatwick, Lundgren has targeted the airline on profitable routes to main airports throughout Europe.“Whereas widespread within the US, CFOs entering into the CEO function is much less widespread in European airways . . . In our view, Kenton must be seen as representing continuity with the present technique,” analysts at Bernstein mentioned.However like many airways, easyJet’s administration has struggled to persuade buyers to completely again its imaginative and prescient regardless of the present journey increase. The airline’s shares are languishing 60 per cent under pre-pandemic ranges.The management modifications got here as easyJet on Thursday reported lowered winter losses and mentioned it anticipated one other sturdy summer season.Its pre-tax loss for the six months to the tip of March narrowed to £350mn, and the airline mentioned it anticipated its planes to be fuller than final yr over the summer season peak.“We’re targeted on executing the medium-term plan and associated monetary targets set out earlier this yr and see Kenton as the perfect individual to guide our govt workforce to that finish,” easyJet chair Stephen Hester mentioned. The airline has efficiently competed with nationwide flag carriers equivalent to British Airways, however some analysts and buyers have questioned how a lot the enterprise can develop in a mature market the place capability at many airports is constrained.To the frustration of some buyers, Lundgren declined to tear up his technique in the course of the pandemic and tackle Ryanair and Wizz Air in a land-grab for market share in new international locations in the course of the industry-wide disruption. Lundgren has as an alternative targeted on building a package deal vacation enterprise on the airline, easyJet Holidays, which has grown quickly and delivered 1 / 4 of the airline’s pre-tax income in its final monetary yr.The service additionally shifted into development mode in October when it ordered 157 short-haul plane and introduced new monetary targets, together with reaching pre-tax revenue of £1bn by decreasing its winter losses, upgrading its fleet with bigger planes and rising easyJet holidays.The corporate swung again to revenue final yr for the primary time because the pandemic on a record-breaking summer season that lined the 12 months to the tip of September.On Thursday, Lundgren mentioned the airline was “completely targeted on one other file summer season” and on observe to attain its monetary targets.“There are vital issues nonetheless to perform over the steadiness of the yr, however when the time comes I’ll go away easyJet with an incredible sense of loyalty and of satisfaction on the progress made,” Lundgren mentioned.

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