Gulf Air has announced the planned departure of President and Chief Executive James Hogan in late 2006.This will follow the completion of the Project Falcon turnaround programme and the implementation of the airline’s new strategic plan, Smart Airline, Successful Business, which was endorsed by the Board earlier this year.
The airline also announced it expects to appoint a new president and chief executive before Mr Hogan’s departure, allowing for a smooth leadership transition.
Abdul Aziz Jassim Kanoo, chairman of the Board of Directors of Gulf Air, said:
‘Project Falcon re-established Gulf Air as one of the world’s leading airline brands. The new plan, Smart Airline, Successful Business, will take us to the next level of development, with investment in new aircraft, new maintenance facilities and new route and service initiatives.
‘Gulf Air continues to face the challenges of a competitive market environment and it will be another challenging year for the airline following losses in 2005.
‘But both shareholders, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman, believe the right foundations have been set with the new plan and that is why they committed further funding of BD 100 million to the airline earlier this year. Each remains fully committed to Gulf Air into the future.
‘Our new strategy is based on continued investment in the business. We recently announced major investment in a new maintenance facility. In addition to this, we are on track with our fleet renewal plans, which we expect to finalise over the summer.
‘On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank James Hogan for the strong and decisive leadership he has shown over the last four years, helping Gulf Air to return to its rightful place as one of the world’s leading airline brands. His vision and commitment have been exemplary.’
James Hogan joined Gulf Air in May 2002, when he introduced the Project Falcon turnaround programme. Over the following three years, this cut the airline’s losses and returned it to profit, in 2004. In addition, Project Falcon saw a re-branding of the airline and the launch of unique services including Gulf Traveller, Sky Chefs and Sky Nannies.
The airline won many different awards over that period, including Most Improved Airline, Middle East Leading First Class Airline, MENA Platinum Best Airline and the prestigious Mercury Award for in-flight service.
Mr Hogan said:
‘I am incredibly proud of the progress made by Gulf Air over the last four years. It has become one of the top airline brands in the world, with a service portfolio that is the envy of competitors in the region and across the globe.”
‘Now, with Project Falcon completed and all the major elements of the new strategy in place or under way, my work has been completed and it is on this basis that I made my decision to move on to new challenges.
‘I would like to thank the leadership of each of the shareholding nations and the members of the Board for their support throughout the last four years.’
‘The future of Gulf Air is assured by the one key factor that has seen it develop so strongly over the last four years: its people. The staff and management, both in Bahrain and Oman, will take the business forward to even greater success in the future.’