Aer Lingus chief executive resigns

Aer Lingus chief executive, Dermot Mannion, has resigned a month after the Dublin-based company posted a group net loss of £98m for 2008.

His departure will take immediate effect, with chairman Colm Barrington stepping into the role until a new CEO is appointed. The search for Mannion’s successor has already begun.

He departs after four years with the company, prior to which he had worked for the Dubai-based airline Emirates airlines.

After joining Aer Lingus in August 2005, he spearheaded the development of new long-haul routes and oversaw the privatisation of the airline and its flotation on the Irish stock market in 2006.

But last month, the group reported a net loss of £98m for 2008 and admitted that it was unlikely to meet expectations for a pretax profit in 2009.

Along with the challenges it faces due to the global recession, Aer Lingus has also been hit by strong competition from rival Ryanair. As its largest investor, Ryanair has launched two unsuccessful hostile takeover bids for the group during Mannion’s tenure.

In a statement, Mannion says: “My decision to step down will allow a new CEO to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to the business.”

In February, the Global Radio-owned London station, 95.8 Capital FM, signed Aer Lingus as a sponsor of its breakfast show with Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon.

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