Struggling Virgin Australia appoints Jayne Hrdlicka as new CEO
Former budget airline boss Jayne Hrdlicka will become Virgin Australia’s first female chief executive after the struggling airline’s administrators announced Thursday its current boss would step down.
Chief executive and managing director Paul Scurrah, who has held the position for 18 months, will be replaced by the former Jetstar chief once US private equity firm Bain Capital takes over the carrier, the airline announced in a statement.
“Whilst it has been the most challenging time in aviation history, I have continued to be so proud of the way my team and our entire organisation has fought to save this airline,” Scurrah said.
“The time feels right, and I know the business will be in good hands.”
Virgin went into voluntary administration in April shortly after Australia closed its international borders and domestic travel plunged.
The airline previously said it would close its budget subsidiary Tigerair Australia and lay off 3,000 staff as it prepares to relaunch under new ownership.
Hrdlicka, an American business executive who is currently the chair of Tennis Australia and previously led Aussie milk company A2 Milk, is set to take over when the deal is completed in November.
Before the pandemic, the airline struggled for years against larger carrier Qantas, and Scurrah had warned that even if travel recovered to pre-pandemic levels, successful airlines would “look very different” to the way they did previously, requiring long-term capital and a lower cost base.