Etihad Airways appoints Ray Gammell interim chief executive as boss James Hogan takes off in July

Rebecca Smith
Etihad said it was close to making an announcement about the recruitment of a new group chief exec
Etihad said it was close to making an announcement about the recruitment of a new group chief exec (Source: Etihad)

Etihad Airways has appointed Ray Gammell as interim group chief executive with current boss James Hogan set to spread his wings on 1 July.

The airline said Gammell, the airline's chief people and performance officer, will "assume full management responsibilities from today". He has been a member of the executive leadership since joining the business in 2009.

Etihad is in "the advanced stages" of recruitment for a new group chief executive and said it will make an announcement in the coming weeks.

Read more: TUI tie-up with Etihad nears take-off

There will also be a parallel hand over with Ricky Thirion taking over as chief financial officer, with James Rigney also leaving on 1 July.

Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, chairman of the Etihad board, said: “Ray will now take full management responsibility for the Etihad Aviation Group, ensure a coordinated group approach, and continue to advance the strategic review that was initiated by the board in 2016 to reposition the business for continued development in what we anticipate being a prolonged period of challenges for global aviation.”

Etihad announced president and group chief executive Hogan was leaving the airline back in January, amid the Abu Dhabi government-owned airline's strategic review into the carrier's operations.

Hogan had led Etihad for over a decade.

The news comes after it was announced that Alitalia, which was rescued by Etihad in 2014, has entered administration.

Etihad had invested €1.7bn for a 49 per cent stake in the Italian carrier in 2014 and had pledged investment to help the airline, which had struggled to make a profit, out of difficulty.

Rising competition from the likes of low-cost rivals in Europe, notably Ryanair, has been a headache for the Italian carrier.

While Alitalia adopted a restructuring plan in March that would have unlocked financing for the group, it was rejected by the airline's employees in a vote last month.

Read more: Etihad Airways attempts to save debt ridden Alitalia in deal

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