Fastjet hits out at Stelios Haji-Ioannou for attacking chairman

Josh Martin
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(FILES) Picture taken in London on Novem
Child is not the right man for the job, says Haji-Ioannou (Source: Getty)

Fastjet has hit out at Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the co-founder and second-biggest shareholder in the African airline, for calling on investors to oust its chairman.

Child became chairman of the Tanzania-based airline in September last year. Haji-Ioannou condemned Child for taking a lot of time to appoint a new CEO after Ed Winter quit on January. Nico Bezuidenhout, who was previously CEO of South African carrier Mango Airlines, was appointed only last week.

In a letter to shareholders, Rob Burnham, Fastjet’s non-executive director, wrote: “The board firmly considers that a period of continuity and stability is essential following the appointment of the new chief executive and the numerous board changes that have occurred in the past year."

He added: "I have worked closely with Colin over the past few months and I can say that Colin has, since he joined the board and more recently in his temporary role as executive chairman, continuously demonstrated his commitment to your company and sought always to act in the best interest of all shareholders.”

Read more: Fastjet shares nosedive after Sir Stelios attack

Earlier this week, the EasyJet founder wrote to shareholders of Fastjet urging them to vote to remove the company's chairman Colin Child at its annual meeting which will take place in London on 28 June.

"We have had numerous discussions with Colin Child since his appointment and, quite simply, do not believe he is the right man for the job," said Haji-Ioannou.

"Chairing an airline (even a tiny one like Fastjet) is a serious and complicated business and doing it from almost 5,000 miles from its centre of operations and customers is ridiculous."

​Last week, Fastjet posted annual pre-tax losses of $41m while revenues rose 21per cent to $65.1m.

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