easyJet’s chief operating officer (COO) has resigned this week after a difficult few months of flight cancellations and disruptions. The airline says that Peter Bellew, who has been with the company for two and a half years, left to “pursue other business opportunities”. Bellew’s departure puts more pressure on CEO Johan Lundgren to pull easyJet out of this difficult season.
Tough Season for easyJet
EasyJet has been facing operational challenges since restrictions were lifted, with thousands of flights cancelled over the last few months, many at the last minute. The disruptions have significantly affected the airline’s reputation, with easyJet share prices at a 10-year low. Last month, trade union Unite criticised Mr Bellew for his “lack of leadership” and urged him to “take control”.
Bellew joined easyJet in 2019, jumping ship from rival Ryanair, in a move that the Irish budget carrier tried to block. He has faced multiple controversies throughout his time at easyJet, including a vote of no confidence from the British Airline Pilots’ association over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
A senior executive shake-up has been on the table since the airline’s new chair, Stephen Hester, started taking closer control of the company in response to the airport chaos. Following Peter Bellew’s departure, his role will be in the “very capable hands” of David Morgan, who was interim COO before Bellew’s appointment. Who easyJet say “will provide strong leadership for the airline this summer”.
This week, easyJet’s senior executive team are heading to Palma, Mallorca, for a two-night corporate retreat, a move which has earned them much criticism from the press. Bosses, including CEO Johan Lundgren, will be spending time at the luxury resort Iberostar, which boasts an infinity pool and a sunset champagne bar among its many amenities. Lundgren argues the trip is an “entirely appropriate” decision.
What are your thoughts about easyJet sacking their COO? Let us know in the comments below!