ASPAC appointment wrap up of the month

30 June, 2017

The travel, tourism and aviation industries in the Asia Pacific region witness policy and upper level changes on a daily basis. It is important to not only keep tabs of these organisations direction, but to also monitor changes in executive branches to see the wider picture of the travel market. Blue Swan will keep you informed of these movements each month, with a full wrap of the key changes in the ASPAC market, while also looking forward to key appointments announced for the following month.

Here are the key executive changes for Jun-2017:

  • Virgin Australia, confirmed the departure of John Thomas as group executive. Mr Thomas will be replaced by Tiger CEO Rob Sharp.
  • London City Airport appointed Robert Sinclair to the position of CEO, effective 30-Oct-2017. Mr Sinclair is currently CEO of Bristol Airport and was previously CFO of Auckland International Airport. Mr Sinclair replaces Declan Collier, who announced his resignation in Apr-2017.
  • Cairns Airport appointed Paul McLean to the role of CCO-aviation, commencing early Aug-2017. CEO Norris Carter stated Mr McLean's responsibilities include growing airline services and passenger numbers to the airport, as well as route development focusing on "direct international connections".
  • CANSO appointed Teri Bristol as chair. Ms Bristol serves as US FAA Air Traffic Organization COO. CANSO also appointed Thabani Mthiyane as vice chair. Mr Mthiyane serves as CEO of South Africa's ANSP, Air Traffic & Navigation Services Company Ltd (ATNS). As previously reported by CAPA, former CANSO chair Ed Sims stepped down from both his CANSO role and as CEO of Airways New Zealand.
  • Air Mauritius appointed Somaskaran Thiagarajan Appavou as CEO, effective 14-Jul-2017. Mr Appavou joined the airline in Nov-1997 before moving to Airbus in 2001.
  • Sabre Corporation announced the appointment of Axel Bench as Regional Director – Asia, responsible for South Asia, North Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Indonesia AirAsia X appointed Sulistyo Nugroho Hanung as president director. Mr Hanung will also continue his duties as flight operations director. As previously reported by CAPA, Mr Hanung was appointed interim CEO in Sep-2016, replacing Dendy Kurniawan.
  • Mandarin Airlines appointed Cao Chih-fen as the first female president in the carrier’s 26 year history. Ms Cao succeeds Roger Han.
  • Tourism New Zealand appointed Gregg Wafelbakker to the role of general manager Asia, effective 03-Jul-2017.
  • AirAsia appointed Celia Lao Sio Wun as CEO of Hong Kong and Macau. Ms Lao will be responsible for business development, route planning and development and government relationship management for AirAsia Group in Hong Kong and Macau. Ms Lao was previously GM of regulatory and airport affairs for greater China. Ms Lao joined AirAsia in 2004 as the company's first employee in greater China.
  • Christchurch International Airport appointed Catherine Drayton as chairwoman of its board from Oct-2017. Ms Drayton will succeed David McKenzie.
  • Malaysia Airports HoldingsBerhad announced the resignation of director and chairman Wan Abdul Aziz and appointment of Syed Zainol Anwar as replacement, effective 07-Jun-2017. Mr Abdul Aziz stated: "This is the right time for me to make way for another leader at the helm to pursue the company’s vision and steer it towards achieving even greater heights".
  • Australia's Government extended the tenure of Sir Angus Houston as chair of Airservices Australia for a one year term. David Merchant and Tim Rothwell have also been reappointed for a further two years, in order to help the board oversee acquisition of a new ATM system for Australia. Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said: "Airservices is moving to replace its air traffic management system as part of a major capital expenditure and investment program of more than AUD1 billion (USD745 million) over the next five years, to enhance the safety, efficiency and capacity of the national network, and meet anticipated growth in the industry".
  • QantasAirways appointed Rob James as chief technology officer, succeeding Chris Taylor who resigned in May-2017. Mr James will commence the role in Aug-2017.

Other key executive movements of interest around the market include:

  • Canada Jetlines appointed Saad Hammad as an independent director, effective 01-Jul-2017. Mr Hammad served as Flybe CEO until Oct-2016. Mr. Hammad will also be granted 225,000 stock options with a five-year term to be vested over a period of 24 months at an exercise price equal to the closing market price on the day prior to his appointment.
  • Aircastle announced CEO Ron Wainshal will step aside to focus on his health and recovery. Michael J Inglese was named CEO and was appointed to the board.
  • IATA appointed Iran Air MD Farhad Parvaresh to the board of governors at its 73rd AGM in Jun-2017.
  • Gulf Air Board of Directors confirmed the resignation of CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam.

Key executive changes for Jul-2017 are as follows:

  • Etihad Aviation Group's board appointed chief people and performance officer Ray Gammell as interim group CEO and confirmed current president and group CEO James Hogan will leave the company on 01-Jul-2017. Mr Gammell will assume full management responsibilities from 08-May-2017. SVP group treasurer Ricky Thirion will assume the full responsibilities of group CFO James Rigney, who will also leave the company on 01-Jul-2017. The board is in the advanced stages of recruitment for a new group CEO.
  • Air Mauritius appointed Somaskaran Thiagarajan Appavou as CEO, effective 14-Jul-2017. Mr Appavou joined the airline in Nov-1997 before moving to Airbus in 2001.