Tui sustainability director Jane Ashton is to join easyJet in February in a move that emphasises the seriousness of the airline’s intent to develop both its environmental credentials and its holidays business.

Flic Howard-Allen, easyJet’s chief communications officer with responsibility for sustainability, said: “Jane is one of the most well-known and respected leaders in sustainability in travel. We’re delighted she is joining.”

Ashton has been at Tui, and before that First Choice, since the 1990s and was appointed group sustainability director in 2011.

She becomes the latest senior Tui figure to join easyJet, whose chief executive Johan Lundgren was previously at Tui along with easyJet Holidays boss Garry Wilson.

Tui group director for corporate and external affairs Thomas Ellerbeck paid tribute to Ashton, saying: “Jane has been a great sparring partner on sustainability and has driven the agenda with passion, energy, great knowledge and experience. I understand her wish to start something new after a long time in her role. I’m sure we’ll stay in contact. Her successor will be announced soon.”

He added: “Sustainability is a top priority for the company. The global sustainable development team is in best shape and we have great managers over all markets. Jane has formed a wonderful team.”

Ashton has worked closely with industry charity The Travel Foundation, whose chairman Noel Josephides said: “We admire the work Jane has done at Tui. It has a level of sophistication far higher than people realise. She will be a loss to Tui. Jane has enormous staying power and ability to negotiate the politics that comes with big organisations.”

Howard-Allen said: “Sustainability is important for easyJet, as we showed with our recent announcements of an electric plane project with Airbus and [plans to] become the first major airline to offset carbon emissions from all our flights.

“Jane will be responsible for developing and implementing the sustainability strategy across the airline. She will also work alongside the holidays team on their sustainability plans.”