Etihad Airways top executives to step down

24 January 2017

James Hogan has served as CEO and president since 2006

Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan is set to step down from his post in the second half of 2017, according to a company statement.

Hogan served the UAE’s national carrier since 2006.

Chief financial officer James Rigney is also set to vacate his post later this year.

News of Hogan’s imminent departure started circulating in December last year when the carrier confirmed it is undergoing a restructuring programme.

The judged failure of the approach of acquiring stakes in European airlines is being blamed as one of the reasons for Hogan’s departure. Etihad acquired a 29 per cent stake in Germany’s Air Berlin in 2011. This was followed by the acquisition of 49 per cent stake in Air Serbia in 2013 and 49 per cent in Alitalia in 2014.

Etihad had also acquired minority stakes in India’s Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Etihad Regional.

Defending this strategy, Hogan said in 2015 that ”the return on the equity investments in the seven airlines was many more times the money it had spent, which in any case was less than the cost of three new aircraft.”

However, unconfirmed media reports have indicated that the airline had suffered up to $2.6bn in losses due to investments made in the three European airlines.

In December 2016, Etihad acknowledged an ongoing process of organisational reviews and restructuring following weeks of speculation it is cutting between 1,000 and 3,000 jobs, which is equivalent to 4 to 11 per cent of its global workforce.

“By undertaking a process of managed, controlled restructuring we are able to protect the business while at the same time continuing to invest in its future growth and progress,” Etihad said, without specifying the number of expected job cuts.

The airline reported a net profit of $103m on the back of $9bn in revenue in 2015.

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