EasyJet deputy chairman David Michels has stepped down following months of tensions with founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Sir Stelios had called for a shareholder meeting earlier this month, to vote on the removal of Michels, citing 11 reasons for the request, including objections to an order of 145 aircraft.
Michels will be replaced by Charles Gurassa, a former British Airways senior executive.
Michels, who was due to leave at the end of 2011, has left immediately to spare the airline the costs and distraction of a shareholders’ meeting.
Sir David’s departure was announced along with news that Andy Martin and Adèle Anderson will join the board of easyJet as non-executive directors with effect from 1 September.
‘In view of these appointments and the recent appointment of Charles Gurassa, and in order to avoid the unnecessary costs and distraction of the EGM requested by easyGroup Holdings, Sir
David Michels, who gave notice in May that he would leave the board at the end of the year, has stepped down from the board with immediate effect,’ said easyJet today.
Sir Stelios said in a statement: “The unwillingness of Michels and the rest of this board to put this matter to a shareholder vote proves that they have lost all legitimacy to run this company,” He added. “They no longer enjoy the trust of the majority of shareholders.
“We will announce further plans to protect shareholder value next week.”
Sir Michael Rake, easyJet chairman, said: ‘I would like to personally thank David Michels for his major contribution to the company over the last six years as a director, deputy chairman and for six months as interim chairman and for his support to me as chairman.
‘I am very pleased to welcome Andy Martin and Adèle Anderson to the board. Their experience will strengthen the board’s capabilities in the area of risk and financial management.’