Alitalia appoints Etihad insider as new CEO

Cramer Ball comes from other Etihad-affiliated carriers
Alitalia has appointed Cramer Ball, an aviation turnaround specialist, as its new chief executive. Ball, an Australian, comes from an 18-month tenure as chief executive of India’s Jet Airways.
Jet and Alitalia are linked by being part of the seven-strong Equity Alliance created by Etihad Airways, which owns 49% of Alitalia and 24% of Jet. Etihad chief James Hogan is also an Australian.
Ball is likely to take up his new role in early March, succeeding Silvano Cassano who resigned in September after less than a year in the job.
He will probably continue Cassano’s plan to reposition Alitalia as a more upscale operator, differentiating it from low-cost rivals as it struggles to return to profit. The airline’s turnaround is said to be crucial to Etihad’s efforts to reach deeper into European traffic.
Ball has had a 20-year career in aviation, previously working at Ansett Australia, Qantas, Bahrain’s Gulf Air and Etihad itself. In 2012-13, he ran Air Seychelles, in which Etihad has a 40% stake, where he oversaw a return to profit.
Reuters / Bloomberg