Sir Tim Clark will step down as the president of Emirates Airline in June next year, bringing to an end more than 30 years at the company.
Under Clark’s leadership the state-owned business became the world’s largest airline and helped transform Dubai into a global transport hub.
In a memo to internal staff seen by Reuters, chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said that Clark would continue as an advisor after retiring.
al-Maktoum said: “Through wars, economic recessions, disasters natural or manmade, and various industry upheavals, Tim has ably steered and grown Emirates to its standing today as the world’s largest international airline, and an eminent player in the global airline industry.”
An Emirates spokesperson confirmed Clark’s departure, adding that there no comment on the airline’s succession plans.
Clark was one of Emirates’ founding members in 1985, having cut his teeth at Gulf Air and Caledonian Airways. He became president in 2003.
“Tim is a giant of the industry. He had the vision behind Emirates and has cultivated the airline to where it is today,” said independent aviation consultant John Strickland.
Knighted in 2014 for his services to British prosperity and the aviation industry, Clark has since been referred to by many in the industry, including those at Emirates, as “Sir Tim”.
Sheikh Ahmed, a member of Dubai’s ruling family who has been the airline’s chairman since inception, praised Clark as being central to Emirates success and Dubai’s emergence as a global aviation hub.