25 January, 2017
Australian-born aviation executive James Hogan will depart Etihad Aviation Group, the parent company of Virgin Australia shareholder and alliance partner Etihad Airways, in 2017 as the Gulf carrier battles hard market conditions.
Etihad Aviation Group said Tuesday that Chief Executive James Hogan would depart the state-owned airline amid growing pressure on the rapidly expanding Middle East carrier.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan is stepping down after 10 years leading the Gulf airline.
In December past year, Etihad Airways said it was cutting jobs in some parts of its business as a part of its restructuring.
As the head of Etihad, Hogan's strategy was to achieve growth through airline equity partnerships.
Etihad reported a 41 per cent surge in its net profit in 2015, reaching $103 million on the back of rising passenger numbers and cargo volumes.
Etihad Aviation Group chairman Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei told the press that the company was working to continue success in a challenging market. Etihad is a great business with strong fundamentals and a deeply experienced aviation and airline management team.
"The board and management team will continue an ongoing, company-wide strategic review", Al Mazrouei said in a statement. "We must ensure that the airline is the right size and the right shape", Al Mazrouei said in the statement. "We must progress and adjust our airline equity partnerships even as we remain committed to the strategy".
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There have been signs in recent times Etihad was looking at new ways to improve it financial position.
Last month, Etihad Airways also revealed plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG. A codeshare agreement with Lufthansa and an aircraft leasing agreement between airberlin and Lufthansa were also announced.
The group now has minority investments in seven airlines: Jet Airways of India, airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Virgin Australia and Darwin Airline.
Read: Abu Dhabi's Etihad to dismiss group CEO James Hogan?
Though a successor has yet to be named for the pending CEO and CFO vacancies, the company has said in a press release that the search is "already underway". It said it was grateful to Hogan and that he and Rigney, who is 49 years old, would join a Europe-based investment company, which it did not name.
The airline has also set a benchmark for premium travel, particularly for the three-room "The Residence" on board its Airbus A380s.
Only recently did the airline announce redundancies across the aviation group, raising speculation that the expansion of Etihad into a global player through strategic shareholdings may have come at a price too high to continue shouldering and that adjustments were to follow in other areas of the company too.