Mark Darby, chief executive officer of Aurigny, has retired, it was announced today.
Mr Darby informed the Aurigny and States Trading and Supervisory Board of his decision in February, according to the States-owned airline and they launched a search for a replacement.
The new CEO is Nico Bezuidenhout, founder and until recently chief executive of Mango Airlines, a subsidiary of South African Airways.
During a 20 year career in aviation, Mr Bezuidenhout has also previously been interim CEO of the SAA Group itself and CEO of Fastjet PLC, a London listed airline established and operated under brand licence from the Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Once the handover from Mr Darby to Mr Bezuidenhout has taken place, the former will continue in an advisory capacity until his contract ends in 2021.
Aurigny Board chairman Andrew Haining has also stepped down. He had intended to resign in 2019 but stayed on through the pandemic.
His replacement has been announced as former CEO of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George. He take on the role of Chairman on 1st October, 2020.
Mr George has more than 40 years aviation and transportation industry experience rising to senior positions at British Airways, CEO of Monarch Airlines in its profitable years and latterly as chief executive of the Isle of Wight ferry operator, Red Funnel. He is currently Chairman of the Red Funnel Group.
Peter Ferbrache, President of the STSB said:
‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew and Mark for their valuable contributions to Aurigny over the years and wish them well in the future.
‘Looking ahead, the States have committed to completing a strategic review of air links as part of the Island’s Revive & Thrive recovery strategy and I am sure the experience that both Kevin and Nico bring with them will help that process, which will include establishing recommendations for the future role of Aurigny as an economic enabler.’
Paying tribute to Mr Darby, Aurigny said:
‘Since Mark took over as Chief Executive of Aurigny in 2013 he has overseen the modernisation of Aurigny, a complete fleet renewal including the introduction of the Embraer E195 jet; the replacement of the old ATRs with new ATR 72-600s; and the replacement of the ageing Trislander fleet with Dornier 228NG aircraft. He has also been responsible for the creation of Aurigny’s own ground handling operations at London Gatwick and overseen the complete overhaul of the airfare tariff options and the launch of an updated website.
‘Mark was able to drive the business close to its break-even target on its services in 2018 under the framework agreed with Aurigny’s shareholder, the States of Guernsey in its ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.