Wizz Air finance chief quits ‘for personal reasons’

Wizz Air finance chief quits ‘for personal reasons’

Wizz Air chief financial officer Mike Powell is standing down “for personal reasons”.

The disclosure came today from the central and eastern European budget carrier.

News of Powell’s departure came a day after shareholders approved the proposed purchase of 110 Airbus A321neo aircraft.

The airline, which operates a fleet of 63 A320s, has started the process of recruiting a new finance chief to replace Powell, who had been with Wizz Air for eight years.

Meanwhile, executive vice president, John Stephenson – the airline’s former chief commercial officer – is joining the board as an executive director.

Terms have been agreed in principle with chief executive, József Váradi, over a new service contract for five years, subject to a six month notice period on either side, the airline announced.

Váradi said: “John Stephenson joined the company in 2006 as chief commercial officer and was promoted to executive vice-president in 2009.

“His proposed appointment to the board of the company is in recognition of his enormous contribution to date and his ongoing and important strategic and managerial role within the business.

“Mike Powell joined Wizz Air in 2007 and we are very sorry to see him leave.

“He too has made an important contribution to the growth of the business and we thank him and wish him well for the future.”

The management changes emerged as Wizz Air reported a 23% rise in passengers carried last month to 1.7 million over October 2014.

Discussing the fleet expansion, Váradi said: “We welcome the approval of our shareholders of this important transaction which means we can continue to build on our strong market position in central and eastern Europe.

“The new aircraft will enable us to sustain our cost advantage through cabin innovations, the latest engine technology and other efficiency improvements, while enhancing our customer offering and experience.

“The agreement with Airbus also provides significant flexibility to match our fleet to our growth requirements.”

Wizz Air also revealed today that total revenue increased 15% to €836.4 million in the six months to September 30.

Ticket revenues increased 11.6% to €544.6 million and ancillary income grew 21.9% to €291.8 million over the same period in 2014.

Ancillary revenue per passenger increased 1.3% to €27.4.

This helped the carrier achieve a pre-tax profit of €190.9 million, up 16.4% year-on-year.

“Management’s expectation of an underlying net profit for the year ending 31 March 2016 in the range of €190 million to €200 million remains unchanged,” the airline said.


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