A question mark is hanging over Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah’s future following its takeover by the American private equity firm Bain Capital, with a key union fearing he is about to depart the airline.
A spokesman for Bain, which bought Virgin in a fierce auction after it went into voluntary administration in April, could not immediately confirm Mr Scurrah’s continued role when contacted on Wednesday afternoon.
The Transport Workers Union said it had suspended negotiations with Bain over a new enterprise bargaining agreement while it sought confirmation about any changes to the airline’s management.
The union movement has been concerned Bain would put its adviser and former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka in charge of Virgin and turn it into a low-cost carrier at the expense of jobs and industry competition.
Mr Scurrah, who joined Virgin about a year before its collapse, had successfully pushed for Virgin to remain a full-service airline under Bain’s ownership.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said reports of Mr Scurrah’s departure were a worrying development after workers voted in favour of Bain’s takeover following commitments to maximise jobs, maintain a full capacity and service, and to fly internationally.
“The ink is not yet dry on the sale of Virgin and it appears that private equity firm Bain Capital are behaving as we feared: ripping out the heart of Virgin and reneging on promises to the Australian people,” Mr Kaine said in a statement.
“If the plan and scope of the airline as outlined in August by Bain Capital has already been scrapped then this is a serious betrayal that must be addressed.”
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