Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Julie Southern has confirmed she will be leaving the airline next month.
The decision comes just weeks after Southern lost out on the chief executive job to the newly appointed Craig Kreeger, who was recruited from American Airlines.
She has been with the airline since 2000.
Southern was believed to be the most likely candidate to replace Steve Ridgway, who retired after 11 years.
A statement from Virgin explained: “Julie Southern leaves the airline having most recently set up the Delta joint venture deal and has been pivotal in leading the airline’s commercial endeavours during times of rapid growth and expansion.
“She will remain a close friend of the airline and we wish her well.”