The chief executive of Aer Lingus, Dermot Mannion, has resigned with immediate effect.
The move comes a month after the Irish carrier reported plummeting losses of 108m euros for 2008 and a warning of bigger losses in 2009, as well as a share price that has fallen over 65 percent in the past year.
Aer Lingus’s chairman, Colm Barrington, takes over until a successor is appointed. Favourites within the airline include chief executive Niall Walsh and chief finance officer, Sean Coyle, who recently joined from Ryanair.
Mannion, 50, who took up the job in 2005, said: “My decision to step down will allow a new CEO to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to the business.”
He joined from Emirates in August 2005, and has since steered the airline out of state ownership, as well as developing long-haul services and controversially axed the Shannon to Heathrow service. He has also fought off to hostile take over bids from Ryanair.
Last month’s profit warning sparked outrage from Ryanair, which owns almost 30 percent of Aer Lingus.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said Aer Lingus had “misled shareholders” in its defence document - which claimed the company would “achieve profit overall in 2008” after cutting costs and that the €748m bid undervalued it.
Mr Barrington said: “On behalf of the board and management team, I would like to thank Dermot for his significant contribution to the group over the past four years. We would like to record our appreciation for his loyalty and dedication to Aer Lingus.
“Against the backdrop of challenging market conditions, the board and management team are focused on maximising revenues, reducing operating costs while maintaining a strong balance sheet to deliver value for all shareholders.”