Connect Airways consortium nabs Virgin Atlantic’s Mark Anderson for top job


Connect Airways, a consortium made up of Stobart Group PLC (LON:STOB), Virgin Atlantic and hedge fund Cyrus Capital, has appointed a new boss.

The consortium, which recently bought Flybe, has nabbed Virgin Atlantic’s customer chief Mark Anderson for the top job.

Anderson has been the executive vice president of Virgin Atlantic’s customer experience since February 2019. Previously to that, he was senior vice president and managing director of Virgin Holidays.

READ: Virgin-backed Connect Airways completes Stobart Air, Flybe acquisitions

Stobart chief executive Warwick Brady said: “Connect Airways represents a compelling financial and strategic opportunity. Having worked with Mark for some months I am confident he will build a talented team capable of establishing a well-structured, profitable airline. Under Mark’s leadership, we can develop a customer-centric regional connectivity strategy that incorporates London.”

Connect Airways awaits EU approval for Flybe deal

Struggling airline Flybe sold its assets and operations to Connect Airways in February for GBP2.8mln.

EU regulators are currently reviewing the deal and are expected to make a decision on whether it can go ahead in July.

Connect Airways incoming boss Anderson said: “It’s a real privilege and honour for me to take on the leadership of Connect Airways, at this exciting time.

“We are focused on growing the airline while expanding our franchise business in Dublin, redefining what customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.

“We have all the building blocks in place: Flybe’s heritage and expertise in running Europe’s largest regional airline; the operational excellence and strength of Stobart Air; and in the near future, the magic of the Virgin brand. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

Ousted Stobart boss has dismissal appeal rejected

The news comes a day after former Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler was refused an appeal against his court defeat over his dismissal from the company.

Tinkler was booted out by the company, which owns the Southend Airport, last year for alleged breach of contract.

READ: Stobart Group says former CEO Andrew Tinkler has application for February judgment appeal refused

In February, Stobart won a court case against Tinkler after he tried to oust the management team, accusing them of destroying shareholder value.

The court ruled that Tinkler acted in breach of fiduciary duties, including speaking to investors and criticising management.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal refused Tinkler permission to appeal against the judgment. Tinkler has been ordered to pay 55% of Stobart’s legal costs from the case, which are understood to be more than GBP1mln.

Time to move on, says Tinkler

He told City AM that it was now time to put the courtroom battle behind him.

“I’ve always said I was about to move on, I thought it was only right trying to go for the appeal, all I was trying to do was protect shareholder value over that period.”

Tinkler said he had no plans to sell his stake in the company as he still sees value in the business.

“I am still a responsible shareholder, I will continue to make sure that value is preserved,” he said.

“There is value in the business although the share price has taken a massive devaluation over the last two years, down some 65%.”

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