THE PARENT COMPANY of Etihad Airways has appointed an Irishman to take over from the outgoing chief executive who oversaw the Gulf carrier’s aggressive expansion and acquisition spree.
The Etihad Aviation Group board of directors named Wicklow native Ray Gammell as interim chief executive, promoting him from his current post as chief people and performance officer.
He replaces president and chief executive James Hogan, who is leaving on 1 July. The acquisition effort he led saw Etihad buy up stakes in several airlines including struggling European carriers Alitalia and Air Berlin.
Alitalia now faces the prospect of liquidation after it just last week entered its second period of bankruptcy protection in a decade.
Hogan’s departure was first announced in January.
‘Reposition the business’
Commenting on today’s announcement, the chairman of Etihad Aviation’s board said Gammell will immediately take “full management responsibility” for the group.
He has been set the task to “reposition the business for continued development in what we anticipate being a prolonged period of challenges for global aviation,” chairman Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei said.
Born in Greystones, Gammell joined Abu Dhabi-based Etihad in 2009.
One of his main responsibilities as chief people office was recruiting more Emiratis to the join the aviation group.
He previously held executive positions at Intel in both the US and Ireland and worked for Royal Bank of Scotland.
He was an officer in the Irish Armed Forces.
Etihad’s group chief financial officer James Rigney is also stepping down on 1 July and will be replaced by Ricky Thirion, who has overseen treasury at the group since 2007.
With reporting by Conor McMahon.