Aurigny CEO Mark Darby, has announced his retirement from the company, to be succeeded by Mr. Nico Bezuidenhout, founder and until recently Chief Executive of Mango Airlines.
Since Mark took over as Chief Executive of Aurigny in 2013 he has overseen the modernisation of Aurigny, a complete fleet renewal including the introduction of the Embraer E195 jet; the replacement of the old ATRs with new ATR 72-600s; and the replacement of the aging Trislander fleet with Dornier 228NG aircraft.
He has also been responsible for the creation of Aurigny’s own ground handling operations at London Gatwick and overseen the complete overhaul of the airfare tariff options and the launch of an updated website. Mark was able to drive the business close to its break-even target on its services in 2018 under the framework agreed with Aurigny’s shareholder, the States of Guernsey in its ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.
Mark informed the Board of his decision in February this year and since then an extensive search for a suitable replacement has been overseen and conducted by the Aurigny Board. This search identified a number of highly qualified airline executives from various parts of the world and has now been concluded.
We are pleased to announce that Mr. Nico Bezuidenhout, founder and until recently Chief Executive of Mango Airlines, a subsidiary of South African Airways (“SAA”), will be joining Aurigny as its new Chief Executive later in the Autumn 2020.
Over a 20 year career in aviation, Nico has also previously been interim CEO of the SAA Group itself and CEO of Fastjet PLC, a London listed airline established and operated under brand licence from the Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Once the handover from Mark to Nico has taken place, Mark will continue in an advisory capacity until his contract ends
Separately Aurigny is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chairman. Andrew Haining had indicated to the STSB that he would step down at the end of 2019. A selection process was managed jointly by the company and STSB during Q4 of 2019 and a chairman was selected. However, given the COVID pandemic, Andrew agreed to remain in post to oversee the airline’s approach with the STSB.
We can now confirm that Mr. Kevin George has agreed to take on the role of Chairman with effect from 1st October, 2020. Kevin has been working closely with the board over the last few months. Kevin has over 40 years aviation and transportation industry experience rising to senior positions at British Airways, CEO of Monarch Airlines in its profitable years and latterly as chief executive of the Isle of Wight ferry operator, Red Funnel. He is currently Chairman of the Red Funnel Group, Chairman of the UK Sailing Academy and a Non-Executive Director of The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, including its Skybus operation.
Peter Ferbrache, President of the STSB said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew and Mark for their valuable contributions to Aurigny over the years and wish them well in the future. Looking ahead, the States have committed to completing a strategic review of air links as part of the Island’s Revive & Thrive recovery strategy and I am sure the experience that both Kevin and Nico bring with them will help that process, which will include establishing recommendations for the future role of Aurigny as an economic enabler”.