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(Left to right): Maurizio Merlo, CEO Darwin Airline; Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO airberlin; James Hogan, President and CEO Etihad Airways; Cramer Ball, CEO Jet Airways; Dane Kondić, CEO Air Serbia, Manoj Papa, CEO Air Seychelles; at the launch of Etihad Airways Partners.
(Left to right): Maurizio Merlo, CEO Darwin Airline; Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO airberlin; James Hogan, President and CEO Etihad Airways; Cramer Ball, CEO Jet Airways; Dane Kondić, CEO Air Serbia, Manoj Papa, CEO Air Seychelles; at the launch of Etihad Airways Partners.

Etihad Aviation Group CEO James Hogan and CFO Rigney to quit

James Hogan President and CEO of Abu Dhabi based Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) will step down in the second half of 2017. He will be joined by Chief Financial Officer James Rigney. The EAG Board of Directors announced the departures and said a global search for their replacements is underway. Both Hogan and Rigney will join an investment company

The Australian joined the Emirati carrier ten years ago and “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” as per the Chairman of EAG H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei.

While the company did not state a reason, Hogan’s position became untenable after the failed investments in European carriers airberlin and Alitalia, cost the airline group about $2.6 billion in losses. Under Hogan, Etihad followed an unusual policy of buying minority stakes in carriers around the world. Etihad bought a 29% stake in airberlin in 2011, Air Serbia and Alitalia in 2013.

Etihad also owns a 24% stake in India’s Jet Airways, and the Mumbai-based airline has also seen churn of senior executives who were considered to be “Etihad appointees”.

Highlights under Hogan 2006-2016

The company released its highlights in the decade under Hogan.

  • Mr. Hogan took the helm at Etihad Airways in 2006, with a mandate to develop a safe, best-in-class airline, operating on a sustainable commercial basis and contributing to the future economic success of Abu Dhabi.
  • The Group [Etihad Aviation Group] operates on a core commitment to safety. The airline has had a 100% safety record under Mr Hogan and was recognised in January 2017 as one of the ten safest airlines in the world.
  • Its core airline operation today serves 18.5 million guests, reaching 112 destinations with a fleet of 120 aircraft, with another 178 on order. It has been named World Travel Awards’ World’s Leading Airline for each of the last eight years and was recently recognised by Skytrax as one of just nine five-star airlines in the world. It won the prestigious Air Transport World Airline of the Year award in 2016.
  • Its strategy of minority equity investments in key strategic partners – Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, airberlin, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia – has created the world’s seventh largest airline grouping, serving more than 120 million passengers a year, with a fleet of more than 700 aircraft reaching almost 350 unique destinations.
  • The airline’s codeshare and equity partnerships are a core element of its growth, delivering 5.5 million passengers onto Etihad Airways’ flights in 2016.
  • Etihad Aviation Group’s diversified operations now cover a range of businesses, each of which is significant in its own right. They include Etihad Cargo, Etihad Airways Engineering, Hala Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airport Services, Etihad Flight College and the Global Loyalty Company, which is bringing together a range of frequent flyer programmes, in addition to the core Etihad Airways operation.
  • The Group now has more than 26,000 employees. Its award-winning Emiratisation programmes, for roles including Cadet Pilots, Technical Engineers and Graduate Managers, have helped increase the number of Emirati employees from less than 100 when Mr Hogan joined to more than 3,000 today.
  • It is estimated that during 2016, the Group delivered a core economic contribution of more than $9.6 billion to Abu Dhabi; this is expected to grow to $18.2 billion by 2024. It works closely with the Tourism & Culture Authority, as well as other key stakeholders, in developing Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a world class destination for business and leisure travellers.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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