EasyJet Goes Outside The Box Again for A CEO

March 24, 2010

EasyJet EZJ (LSE) the European discount airline, as it has done so in the past, has gone outside the company for a new CEO with no experience in the airline industry.  Yesterday the company announced it has selected Carolyn McCall as its next CEO.  McCall currently is the CEO of the struggling Guardian Media Group, the company that publishes the UK’s Guardian and Observer newspapers.  McCall has overseen most of the restructuring efforts that the newspaper group has undertaken to survive in the latest troubles facing the newspaper industries worldwide.  McCall replaces Andy Harrison who will becomeCarolyn McCall, Newly Appointed EasyJet CEO the CEO of the Whitbread PLC , the hotel and restaurant group.  While McCall leaves one troubled industry for another in which she has no experience, the selection still has merit.  According to a story by Robert Lea and Susan Thompson in the Times Online who quoted an EasyJet insider,

“The airline has been looking for someone who has experience of a highly competitive market, someone from a consumerfacing industry, someone at home with the transition to the internet and someone adept at government lobbying. Carolyn McCall was a very impressive candidate.”

The airline has seen a number of management changes over the last few months.  Back in January the comOne year Stock Performance of EasyJetpany put in place a new chairman, Sir Michael Rake chairman of BT Group PLC and CFO, Chris Kennedy an EMI executive.All the management changes have taken place after one of the company’s major shareholders and its founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou expressed his objections to the company’s aggressive plans for expansion at the expense of dividends.   McCall is expected to toe the line with regard to the founder’s needs.  She also appears to be a very interesting choice.  Stay tuned