MIAMI — James Hogan will step down as president and chief executive of the Etihad Aviation Group in the second half of this year, the company said in a statement.
Hogan, who took on the role of CEO in 2006, transformed Etihad into a major global carrier. The transition process began last year, with the incorporation of the new group under which the Emirati carrier sits.
“We are very grateful to James. In just ten years, he has overseen the growth of the company from a 22 plane regional carrier into a 120 aircraft global airline and aviation group, with seven airline equity partnerships which together serve more than 120 million guests every year. It is a business which has set new benchmarks for service and innovation,” said Mohamed Al Mazrouei, chairman of the group.
Hogan also led Etihad into a series of codeshares and investments in other carriers, including airberlin and Alitalia, to stimulate the growth of its network and passenger numbers. However, and despite the success of Etihad, the group has faced losses with its European investments. Recently, Hogan admitted that Alitalia and airberlin were operating in “very tough competitive environments, and need to address long-standing issues facing their businesses.”
Last December, Etihad unveiled plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG, and subscribed a new codeshare agreement and aircraft leasing agreement with Lufthansa. Also, the carrier is participating in a new restructuring plan of Alitalia, which has failed to make a profit after a series of restructuring efforts, and is about to face another major restructure that could include thousands of job cuts.
Etihad is also going through a strategic review, in order to cope with the recent challenges for aviation in the Middle East, due to the excess of capacity and a softening economic scenario due to lower oil prices.
“To position the company for continued success in a challenging market, the Board and management team will continue an ongoing, company-wide strategic review. We must ensure that the airline is the right size and the right shape,” Al Mazrouei added.
Hogan will join an investment company along with Etihad group’s chief financial officer James Rigney, who will also leave the company later this year.
A global search for a new group chief executive and chief financial officer is already under way.