Flybe appoints former CityJet boss Christine Ourmieres-Widener as new chief executive

 
Rebecca Smith
Christine Ourmieres-Widener takes over after Saad Hammad left Flybe earlier this year
Christine Ourmieres-Widener takes over after Saad Hammad left Flybe earlier this year (Source: Flybe)

Christine Ourmieres-Widener will take the reins at Flybe next year.

She has been appointed chief executive, to take over from Saad Hammad, who stood down in October. Ourmieres-Widener will take up the role from 16 January.

Her background is in aviation and the travel industry, with stints at Air France and Amadeus France, before she became chief executive of Irish airline CityJet in 2010, for five years. Her most recent role was chief global sales officer for American Express Global Business Travel.

Read more: Flybe profits tumble as it warns of a tough aviation market

Ourmieres-Widener said: “I look forward to working with the board and the entire team to continue Flybe’s progression to becoming a more customer-focused business, aided by the greater control the airline now has over its future fleet size. As Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe is already in a strong position and I believe can deliver significantly more over the coming years.”

Simon Laffin, who assumed the role of executive chairman while looking for Hammad's replacement, will return to non-executive chairman when Ourmieres-Widener joins in January.

Read more: Flybe boss wants national focus on regional issues over Heathrow v Gatwick

Hammad left in October "with immediate effect", with the regional airline saying it was "time for a new CEO to lead the next phase of Flybe's long-term development". He will be on gardening leave on his salary of £433,500 until October next year, according to the company.

When he joined in August 2013 the firm went through a turbulent spot, booking a £35.6m loss last year, but it then swung back into a £2.7m profit earlier this year.

It comes as the airline also announced it will be heading to Heathrow for the first time next year to launch new routes between Scotland and the airport, with more than 40 scheduled flights a week from Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

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