EasyJet this morning confirmed its chief executive, Carolyn McCall, will step down to become boss of ITV.
The FTSE 100-listed airline said McCall will step down at the end of the year. It has already begun the search for her replacement, it added.
ITV, also listed on London’s blue-chip index, has been searching for a successor to Adam Crozier, who left at the end of June.
McCall, a former chief executive of Guardian Media Group, fought off competition from Direct Line boss Paul Geddes and Dixons Carphone boss Seb James.
She will remain one of seven female chief executives in the FTSE 100, and said she will remain a “loyal customer” of Britain's biggest airline by passenger numbers after seven years at the top.
“This was a really difficult decision for me to make,” she said. “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 chairman John Barton said McCall had “transformed EasyJet's performance in every respect since 2010”.
He added she has left Easyjet “well set for future success”, with the share price trebling and £1.2bn of dividends paid to shareholders during her time at the top. Early frontrunners to take McCall's place at the budget airline include Peter Duffy, the company's commercial director, and Andrew Findlay, its chief financial officer.
EasyJet will announce its third-quarter trading update on Thursday, with its new chief executive having to steer the airline through the Brexit process. On Friday the airline announced plans to establish a new airline in Vienna, EasyJet Europe, to ensure it can continue to operate after Brexit.
EasyJet shares fell by three-quarters of a per cent in early trading, while ITV shares rose by almost 1.5 per cent.