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EasyJet CEO McCall is said to resign to run broadcaster ITV
[LONDON] EasyJet Plc will announce Monday that Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall is stepping down from the discount carrier to take up the same role at broadcaster ITV Plc, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Ms McCall told the airline's board of her decision Sunday, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing the switch. Ms McCall has offered to stay at EasyJet through year-end while the company seeks a successor, the person said, adding that a search firm is set to begin the hunt immediately.
Representatives of EasyJet and ITV declined to comment.
Ms McCall, 55, took over at EasyJet in July 2010 after rising to the helm of the Guardian Media Group. Since then she has helped transform the European aviation industry along with rival Ryanair Holdings Plc through the rapid expansion of low-cost carriers. More recently the airline has struggled with the impact of Britain's vote to exit the European Union, the collapse of oil prices and a string of terror attacks which has driven a slump in ticket prices.
The next EasyJet CEO must "increase focus on cost management and possible restructuring," Daniel Roeska and Caius Slater, analysts for Sanford C Bernstein, wrote Sunday in a note to investors. "We think bringing in an external candidate, given the required qualifications, with fewer ties to the organization and a fresh view, may be beneficial for shareholders." EasyJet closed little changed at 1,411 pence in London on Friday, leaving the shares down 8 per cent since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The stock had lost about a third of its value after the vote.
Sky News reported Saturday that Ms McCall was resigning. Last year she was linked to a possible move to become the boss at London-based retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc.
As the replacement for outgoing ITV CEO Adam Crozier, Ms McCall will inherit a business that is cutting jobs and slimming costs as it faces declines in advertising sales with retailers wary over the short-term outlook for Brexit and rising inflation. Mr Crozier took over the top job in 2010 and has worked to rejuvenate the UK's biggest free-to-air broadcaster, building up its ITV Studios production arm to reduce its reliance on advertising.
Ad sales made up 47 per cent of ITV's overall revenue in 2016, compared to 64 per cent in 2010, the year Mr Crozier joined. ITV's shares have almost tripled since Mr Crozier became CEO.