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Airline boss to join broadcaster

EasyJet’s McCall flies off to head up ITV

Carolyn McCall
Carolyn McCall: booked for television job

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall has resigned to take up the same role at ITV.

Ms McCall is stepping down after seven years at the airline, during which she has trebled its share price.

Her appointment, reported by Daily Business on Saturday, as replacement for Scotsman Adam Crozier was announced to the London Stock Exchange this morning.

Peter Bazalgette, chairman of ITV, said: “In a very impressive field of high calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders. I’m delighted we’ll be working together at ITV.”

Ms McCall said: “I’m really pleased to be joining ITV. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector. I am looking forward to getting to know all of the people at ITV and helping it make the most of the amazing opportunities that it has in the future.”

She takes up her role on 8 January.

In its statement, ITV said Ms McCall brought a customer focussed approach to EasyJet and “redefined what passengers now expect from short haul flights”.

She has been a non-executive director of Burberry since 2014. She also sits on the board of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and is a trustee at the Royal Academy. She has held non-executive director roles with Lloyds TSB (2008 – 2009), Tesco (2005 – 2008) and New Look (1999 – 2005.

Among the tasks being handed to her successor will be the recently announced decision to set up an office in Austria to ease its operations within the EU after Brexit.

The airline has remained profitable through currency pressures and terror-related incidents which have impacted bookings to some destinations.

Ms McCall, who previously ran Guardian Media Group, will join an organisation grappling with a declining television advertising market.

Other contenders for the ITV role were former RBS executive Paul Geddes, the boss of insurer Direct Line Group, and Seb James, chief executive of the retailer Dixons Carphone.

Buteman Crozier spent seven years at the helm of ITV, having arrived from Royal Mail. Like McCall, he also managed to raise the share price substantially, up 250% over his tenure.

EasyJet said the search for Ms McCall’s successor had begun. John Barton, chairman, said today: “Carolyn built and led the management team that has transformed easyJet’s performance in every respect since 2010.

“She put easyJet’s passengers and people at the heart of the business.  Having first built a solid operational performance, she redefined the customer experience not just at easyJet but across short-haul Europe and has seen both the number and loyalty of easyJet’s passengers grow as a result.

“This has led to sustained and continuing financial success which has been shared with shareholders with a more than trebling of easyJet’s share price and the payment of £1.2 billion in dividends.

“She will leave easyJet well set for future success.  Her successor will inherit a leadership team of strength and depth, engaged people and loyal passengers flying on Europe’s best network.

“I speak for absolutely everyone at easyJet in saying we will be sorry to see Carolyn leave and that we wish her well in her exciting new role.”

Ms McCall added: “This was a really difficult decision for me to make. I have had an amazing seven years at easyJet, I am so proud of what the airline and its people have achieved in that period.

“After seven years, the opportunity from ITV felt like the right one to take. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector.

“EasyJet is a structural winner in a brilliant position, and I look forward to being a loyal customer in the years to come.

“I will always miss easyJet and most of all I will miss easyJet’s people whose Orange Spirit helps them do their best to make travel easy and affordable for their customers every day.”

EasyJet’s third quarter trading update will be issued on 20 July and it expects to report that an improving revenue per seat trend, as outlined in the half year results in May, has been supported by strong third quarter load factors, as well as the continued reduction in market capacity growth and a significant benefit from the move of Easter to April. 

Full year cost per seat at constant currency expectations remain in line with guidance reflecting continued strong cost control with planned investments in resilience to support the delivery of improved operational performance during the summer months. Operational performance for the quarter has improved as the investment in resilience has delivered improved on time performance across the network.

On 27 June, Standard and Poor reaffirmed easyJet’s credit rating at BBB+, reflecting easyJet’s continued strong investment grade balance sheet.


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