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Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer Paul Scurrah will leave his position once the airline’s sale to U.S. private equity group Bain Capital is completed it was announced today.
Stepping into Scurrah’s position will be the former head of Qantas Airways, Jayne Hrdlicka who will now head Australia’s second-biggest airline following the closing of the deal which is expected in early November.
According to two sources speaking with Reuters, Scurrah’s vision that the airline maintain a more premium offering clashed with Bain’s strategy post-acquisition. Bain has previously said it was “behind him and his team”.
Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte released a statement saying that the Bain strategy would not reposition Australia’s No.2 airline as a low-cost carrier.
“Virgin Australia will be a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering great value to customers by delivering a distinctive Virgin experience at competitive prices.”
“Virgin Australia will be a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering great value to customers by delivering a distinctive Virgin experience at competitive prices,” Strawbridge said in a statement. “This will appeal to the full spectrum of travelers, from premium corporate through to more budget-focused customers.”
Scurrah came onboard with Virgin in early 2019 and was leading a turnaround plan to improve the airline’s poor financial performance when the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to ground its fleet and into insolvency with a debt of $6.8 billion.
‘I have continued to be so proud of the way my team and our entire organization has fought to save this airline and to keep competition alive and well in Australia,’ Scurrah said in a statement.
“We have succeeded in not just ensuring the future of the company, but also reset the business to ensure it is well placed to deliver for Bain Capital for many years to come.”
Sources have told the Australian Financial Review that other executives are expected to follow the departure of Scurrah.
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