New chief executive to take on role in challenging times
Johan Lundgren, the former Tui Group deputy chief executive, has been appointed easyJet’s new chief executive, following Carolyn McCall’s announcement in July that she would be leaving the budget carrier to take the helm at UK broadcaster ITV.
The Swedish national was with Tui Group for 12 years, as group deputy chief executive and chief executive for mainstream markets, TTG Media reports.
The travel veteran will join the board of easyJet as a director and chief executive on December 1, and McCall will step down on November 30. However, McCall will remain with the airline until December 31 to assist with the transition.
This is a challenging time for the low-cost airline, the Financial Times says, as Europe’s airlines face intense price competition and rising fuel prices. Three airlines, Air Berlin, Alitalia and Monarch, have entered administration in the last six months.
Despite this, Lundgren will be expected to maintain easyJet’s strong financial performance. easyJet recently confirmed it would buy 25 planes from Air Berlin and may also buy parts of Alitalia. The UK-based LCC has also initiated an application for an operator certificate in Austria, as the Brexit process continues.
Left during restructuring
Lundgren began his career in 1986 as a tour guide with Swedish travel group Fritidsresor, which was later bought by Tui. Having left Tui as part of a restructuring in 2015, his appointment has taken some in the industry by surprise.
However, John Barton, chairman of easyJet, points to his “proven experience in European travel as chief executive and in broader group roles. He is strategic yet operationally focused and has proved himself to be a customer-centric, charismatic and successful leader.”
Lundgren added: “I have flown with and been a fan of easyJet and its wonderful people for many years. This is an exciting time to be joining Europe’s leading airline. Carolyn has built a fantastic team and with them I look forward to contributing to easyJet’s continued success.”