The executive chairman of Fastjet, the African budget airline backed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has stepped down with immediate effect.
Chief Executive Ed Winter will replace David Lenigas on an interim basis until a successor is found for the carrier which started operations last November.
A comprehensive search process led by the Fastjet board of directors is now underway for a non-executive chairman and a further announcement will be made in due course, the airline said.
Fastjet is majority owned by UK conglomerate Lonrho where Lenigas was chairman until September last year.
He said: "I see a very bright future for a low-cost airline on the continent of Africa. Fastjet has the right model to succeed and it almost goes without saying that I wish Fastjet all success.
“I believe that the company has one of the finest airline management teams anywhere in the world. Their considerable early achievements in route development, capacity utilisation, customer satisfaction and community relations pay testament to this.
“This is a time of transition for Fastjet both operationally and in terms of shareholder structure as its major shareholder, Lonrho, is likely to have a new owner in the coming weeks as a result of the current offer for Lonrho.
“It therefore seems to be a good time for me to step down to pursue my other interests and handover the reins as Fastjet moves to the next stage of growth."
Winter said: "David has stepped down in order to concentrate on his other business ventures and we are very grateful for the invaluable advice and dedication he has given to the company in the past year.
"To ensure continuity in the business, I will be taking on the chairmanship helm until we can find a permanent successor."
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