Monarch Group chairman Iain Rawlinson has described the sudden departure of group chief executive Conrad Clifford as amicable.
Clifford’s departure was announced today. He will leave within weeks with no successor in place. However, Rawlinson said the chief executive’s desire to go had been discussed since the end of last year. “There was absolutely no disagreement,” he said.
Rawlinson will assume responsibility for the group while a successor is found, a role he has held previously since joining Monarch in 2009.
He told Travel Weekly: “There was no disagreement on the way forward. Conrad was very much involved in the plans for the airline.”
Rawlinson said the process of recruiting a new chief executive was “well advanced” and an announcement should be expected in the second quarter of Monarch’s financial year (to the end of April) “if not before”.
He said the announcement had been made “at the earliest practical moment” and Clifford’s replacement would come from outside the company.
Rawlinson said: “Conrad’s departure is fairly straightforward. I’m going back to a position I held in 2010. Conrad said he wanted to go and do other things and we are in agreement. He has made a good contribution and he leaves with our best wishes. We are very grateful to him.”
He added: “I’m sorry to see Conrad go but confident in the strength elsewhere in the management team, who know the business extremely well. We know what we have to do.”
Clifford joined Monarch Group from Emirates in September 2010, having previously run Virgin Nigeria Airways and worked at Menzies Aviation Group and Cathay Pacific. He was unavailable for comment.
His departure comes a year after former Monarch Airlines managing director Tim Jeans, who left in January 2011, and two years since chief executive Peter Brown departed the group in February 2010.
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