Stelios Haji-Ioannou is to step down as chairman of U.K. budget airline easyJet, but will remain as chairman of other companies in the Easy empire.
Mr Haji-Ioannou said he would step down in 2003; he will be replaced by Sir Colin Chandler, who is currently chairman of Vickers Defence Systems. Mr Haji-Ioannou added that he would retain a significant stake in EasyJet “for a very long time” but said his strengths lay in setting up businesses rather than being the chairman of a public company.
He confirmed in an interview on BBC Radio that his move, while voluntary, follows pressure from major shareholders, who generally prefer chairmen to be less intimately involved with a company.
recently reported a sharp increase in passenger numbers, up 39% on the same period one year ago.
Barbara Cassani, chief executive of Go Airlines
, a competitor of easyJet, speaking on BBC Radio, praised Mr. Haji-Ioannou for his competence and entrepreneurial skills.