Europe Travel

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Easy Jet:Sir Stelios resigns from EasyJet board

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has quit the board of the airline in a row over its growth strategy.

Boardmember Bob Rothenberg had also stepped down. Both individuals sit as representatives of easyGroup, a 26.2 percent shareholder of easyJet.

“The stated reason for their resignation is that Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wishes to gain greater freedom to exercise easyGroup’s rights as a shareholder in the company to seek a change in the company’s strategy,” stated the airline.

It further stated: “The Board of easyJet wishes to make it clear that all decisions about strategy and the allocation of capital have been made by the full plc Board and where necessary agreed by shareholders.”

Sir Stelios, whose family members are major shareholders with a combined 38 percent stake, has been critical of the airline’s plans to grow the size of its fleet, believing that profit margins and dividends should be a higher priority.

Under the terms of its arrangement with Airbus, easyJet has the right to order a maximum of 315 aircraft; to date easyJet has placed orders for 227 aircraft of which 172 have been delivered.

According to a report filed by The Press Association, Sir Stelios may now call a special meeting of shareholders to consider rejection of the current strategy of “relentless growth”. Sir Stelios said the additional planes were an “expensive legacy” of an order signed by outgoing chief executive Andy Harrison and Airbus in 2006, when different economic circumstances prevailed.



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