Virgin Australia’s administrator Deloitte has confirmed that the airline’s chief executive Paul Scurrah will depart the company as it prepares to hand ownership over to US private equity firm Bain Capital.
Mr Scurrah will stand down when Virgin is formally handed over to Bain in early November, Deloitte said on Thursday.
“Paul has done an outstanding job supporting us through this process,” Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said. “His exceptional leadership enabled us to stabilise the business and achieve a sale in a timely and orderly manner.”
Mr Scurrah’s departure appeared imminent on Wednesday afternoon, with sources saying he was locked in a meeting with Bain negotiating his exit.
Mr Scurrah joined Virgin in early 2019 and was engineering a turnaround plan to improve the airline’s poor financial performance when the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to ground its fleet and pushed it into insolvency owing $6.8 billion.
He appeared to have successfully talked Bain around to backing his vision to keep Virgin as a full-service airline, after the private equity firm’s local boss Mike Murphy earlier said he wanted to re-build Virgin as a “hybrid” airline operating somewhere between Qantas and Jetstar.
Mr Scurrah’s imminent exit has heightened fears among Virgin’s workforce that Bain will renege on earlier assurances and strip Virgin back to a budget airline with a limited network, leaving Qantas with a monopoly over full-service air travel in Australia.
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Source: Thanks smh.com