Since 2006 James Hogan has been the face and driving force behind the growth and success of the National Airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways. How will the future of the airline develop afer its CEO and president. The aviation industry will find out soon.
James Hogan, currently President and CEO of the Etihad Airways Aviation Group will step down alongside the company’s CFO James Rigney. Both reportedly will join an investment group.
The reports from Abu Dhabi come hot on the heels of the airline group entering into a joint venture with the TUI Group for the formation of new leisure airline by the name of FlyNiki, after, through strategic share holdings entering into alliances with a number of airlines in Europe and beyond, among them Air Berlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Etihad Regional, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles. This turned Etihad into the seventh largest aviation group in the world with more than 120 million passengers carried.
Hogan already last year handed the CEO position of the airline to Peter Baumgaertner while taking on the role of CEO of the umbrella aviation group, perhaps setting into motion a longer term plan to have a core team of trusted lieutenants rise to top position as he and his CFO were planning to retire from the airline.
Commenting on Mr. Hogan’s time at Etihad, Mr. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of the Etihad Aviation Group said: ‘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. Under his leadership, the company has provided new opportunities for thousands of Emiratis and has been a critical element in the remarkable progress of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We look forward to James’ continued association with Abu Dhabi in new ways’.
James Hogan replied in kind when he said: ‘Along with the Board and my 26,000 colleagues, I am very proud of what we have built together at Etihad and of the company’s substantial contribution to the UAE and to the development of Abu Dhabi. The last decade has seen incredible results but this only represents a first chapter in the story of Etihad. 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’.
Chairman Al Mazrouei then shed some more light on the development when he further added: ‘We must continue to improve cost efficiency, productivity and revenue. We must progress and adjust our airline equity partnerships even as we remain committed to the strategy. Etihad is a great business with strong fundamentals and a deeply experienced aviation and airline management team. These assets, along with a realigned organisation, provide more agility and added focus as Etihad enters the next phase of its development’.
Only recently did the airline announce redundancies across the aviation group, raising speculation that the expansion of Etihad into a global player through strategic shareholdings may have come at a price too high to continue shouldering and that adjustments were to follow in other areas of the company too.
Etihad flies daily to Nairobi in code share with Kenya Airways, but also serves Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Entebbe in Uganda.