Skift Take

The best CEOs know when to quit and Carolyn McCall’s decision to jump ship at a pivotal time for UK airlines is perhaps a sign that there might be tough times ahead.

EasyJet has announced that its Chief Executive, Carolyn McCall, is to leave the airline to take up the same role at UK television network ITV.

McCall will officially step down at the end of the year and in the meantime will continue in the job while EasyJet looks for a successor.

Rumours of McCall’s departure had started to spread in recent months and her decision to quit the airline comes at a pivotal time.

The UK’s departure from the European Union has put airlines in a tricky spot with uncertainty surrounding safety procedures, flying rights and ownership. Last week EasyJet announced its plans for a new European subsidiary based in Austria, which will help it continue to fly within Europe post-Brexit.

McCall, 55, took over at EasyJet in July 2010, joining from the Guardian Media Group where she was also Chief Executive.

During her time at the airline she has clashed with founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou over issues such as fleet expansion and pay. But despite this tension she has helped transform the airline into one of Europe’s biggest.

McCall said: “This was a really difficult decision for me to make. I have had an amazing seven years at EasyJet, I am so proud of what the airline and its people have achieved in that period.

“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 is a structural winner in a brilliant position, and I look forward to being a loyal customer in the years to come.”

EasyJet will announce its third quarter results on July 20.


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Tags: low-cost carriers

Photo credit: Carolyn McCall will officially leave EasyJet at the end of the year. David Hellier, Benjamin Katz and Joe Mayes / EasyJet

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