Monday 8 June 2020 12:17 pm

Two more Easyjet board members to step down this year

Two members of the Easyjet board will step down this year, it was announced this morning, just a few weeks after finance chief Andrew Findlay also turned in his resignation.

Deputy chairman Charles Gurassa and finance committee chair Andy Martin will quit the board in line with corporate governance best practice, having each served for nine years.

Martin will step down at the end of August, while Gurassa will leave at the end of the year in order to provide “continuity” as the coronavirus crisis rumbles on.

Easyjet chairman John Barton thanked the two for their service, saying: “We have benefited greatly from their wise counsel and I am pleased that we will continue to do so over the next few months as we navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

However, Easyjet founder and largest stakeholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who has been waging a campaign against the board throughout the crisis over a new aircraft contract with Airbus, questioned the timing of the move.

He said: “I find the current situation very bizarre. Two more scoundrels running for the hills following the finance chief’s resignation just two weeks ago.

“This is a board that only 10 working days earlier was telling investors that this is not the time for regime change. It now seems to be happening anyway.

Before the Open: Get the jump on the markets with our early morning newsletter

“The real question in my mind is…were Gurassa and Martin pushed or did they jump?”.

The dispute between Sir Stelios and the Easyjet board came to a head last month when shareholders voted down the Greek-Cypriot businessman’s proposals to remove Barton, chief executive Johan Lundgren, and two other board members at an extraordinary general meeting. 

Despite surviving the attempted coup, Findlay tendered his resignation in the following days, and will leave the airline in 2021.

Easyjet has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, grounding its entire 337 plane fleet and cutting 4,500 jobs.

It is currently working with Ryanair and British Airways on legal action against the UK government over the new 14-day quarantine rules, which it described as “wholly unjustified and disproportionate”.

Lundgren this morning warned that unless the blanket measures are replaced by a targeted air bridges solution, more jobs may be lost at the carrier.