Stelios likens EasyJet to troubled Thomas Cook

Stelios likens EasyJet to troubled Thomas Cook

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is reported to have likened the budget airline to troubled package holiday company Thomas Cook in a detailed submission to shareholders.

He does not rule out voting against the entire board at the company’s annual meeting in February, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The 37.4% shareholder has dropped his demands for an increased dividend but in a detailed new presentation he is using to gain support from institutional shareholders seen by the newspaper, Sir Stelios calls on fellow investors to hold the airline’s board to account for what he sees as its recent failings.

Key to these is what he views as the airline’s obsession with buying a new fleet from Airbus, including a £713 million order for 15 new aircraft at the start of this year.

Sir Stelios also believes the airline’s chief executive Carolyn McCall is following the “flawed strategy of becoming a holiday airline”.

“The route network looks more like a charter airline with extensive summer-only routes operated two to three months of the year on less than daily flights,” he reportedly says in the 81-page presentation.

Another concern of Sir Stelios is the way the board calculates return on capital employed, particularly as this is the metric used to pay executive bonuses and fund share performance plans.

Although he has yet to decide whether he will vote against the entire board, chaired by ex-KPMG International chairman Sir Michael Rake, it is reported that he may vote against some non-executives, including new non-executive director Adele Anderson who worked under Sir Michael at the accountancy giant.

EasyJet has declined to comment.

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