Carolyn McCall is leaving easyJet at the end of the year for ITV. In a male dominated world, a female CEO has made a refreshing change, and she’s taken easyJet on an interesting and profitable journey for the last few years.
But her warning is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly – when you leave an industry for another you can pretty much say what you like as you walk out the door. To be fair Michael O’Leary of Ryan Air has said the same thing, even naming names, and in Monarch’s case being right on the nose about it. But when he says it, it always sounds mean and vindictive. Echoed by a respected CEO of Ryan Air’s arch rival, it’s underscored and printed in bold.
Carolyn McCall was speaking to BBC Radio 4, she warned of a dire uncertainty over Brexit that shouldn’t be underestimated, and that no matter what government says, the problems are huge and pretty much as dire as everyone says they are, if a real far-reaching, open skies agreement isn’t reached. And right now we’re a long way from that.
Her biggest warning was that there are now mega-brands with strong balance sheets and good managers who are driving European aviation growth. On the other hand there are weak to mediocre airlines that often are very capable of making a lot of noise but don’t deliver financially and are inevitably going to fall by the wayside.
Sadly she’s not naming names, but having run through the issues that Brexit has caused easyJet, the currency losses from a weak pound (that to be fair is now back where it was in respect of the Euro but not USD), you can understand how if a big operator can suffer, but still make a profit, how will smaller operators make it through?
Carolyn McCall hands over to an industry stalwart in Johan Lundgren, formerly a 12 year director of TUI and with 30 years airline experience.