Etihad Aviation Group has announced that James Hogan will step down as president and chief executive of the company in the second half of 2017.
The Etihad board and Hogan first initiated the transition process last year with the formation in May of the Etihad Aviation Group, a diversified global aviation and travel organisation.
Commenting on Hogan’s time at Etihad, 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.”
Concerns have been raised about equity investments placed by Etihad in recent months.
While stakes in carriers including Virgin Australia and Jet Airways are paying off, those in airberlin and Alitalia have been less successful.
The German carrier has continued to lose money and will split into three to survive.
Part of airline’s fleet will operate on behalf of Deutsche Lufthansa, while other planes will be transferred to a venture with tour operator TUI.
Last month, Etihad Airways unveiled plans to create a new European leisure airline group with TUI AG.
airberlin, in which Etihad has a 29.9 per cent stake, has also been hamstrung by the repeated delays of its planned base at Brandenburg Airport in Berlin.
Alitalia has also failed to stem losses after a series of restructuring efforts.
The Rome-based carrier is now facing another overhaul that could include thousands of job cuts.
The Italian flag carrier 49 per cent owned by Etihad.
As a minority shareholder, Etihad is actively participating in the next phase of Alitalia’s restructuring plan.
Hogan commented: “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.”
Hogan will join an investment company along with Etihad Aviation Group chief financial officer James Rigney, who will also leave the company later this year.
A global search for a new group chief executive and a new group chief financial officer is already underway.
Commenting on current priorities for the business, Mazrouei said: “To position the company for continued success in a challenging market, the board and management team will continue an on-going, company-wide strategic review.
“We must ensure that the airline is the right size and the right shape.
“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.”
Mazrouei added: “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.”
Under Hogan’s leadership Etihad has been recognised as the World’s Leading Airline for the past eight years by the World Travel Awards.