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EasyJet boss packs bags after seven turbulent years – with firm naming successor

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EASYJET’S boss is jetting off after seven turbulent years.

The budget airline said Johan Lundgren would be leaving at the start of next year.

EasyJet's boss has left the firm after seven years

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EasyJet’s boss has left the firm after seven years

His successor will be the company’s finance chief Kenton Jarvis.

Mr Lundgren admitted his time at the top had been “intense”, with the pandemic’s travel restrictions being “an experience you won’t forget or want to do again”.

He has also had to navigate a tricky relationship with easyJet’s founder and biggest investor, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who tried to oust him in 2020.

At the time, Mr Lundgren said Sir Stelios’s campaign against him was “disturbing” and “extremely unhelpful”.

EasyJet’s shares yesterday dipped by about six per cent after the boardroom changes were revealed, but Mr Lundgren laughed off the market reaction to his departure.

He said: “The reaction from investors has been very well-received and there is positive feedback that this is a seamless transition.”

Mr Jarvis is seen as a continuity candidate and yesterday told The Sun that he had “100 per cent bought into the strategy”.

This means it will be highly unlikely there will be any big change from easyJet’s plan to boost its holiday business.

The management changes came alongside easyJet reporting it had narrowed its winter losses to £350million — an improvement of £61million — and it is gearing up for a “record” summer of holiday bookings.

Its fledgling package holiday business has grown customer numbers by 42 per cent in the past year and is expected to deliver profits of £170million this year.

easyJet halts Israel flights due to Middle East tensions

BT boss dials up the enthusiasm

BT’S new boss plans to ditch international distractions and prioritise investment in the UK.

Allison Kirkby, who took over from Philip Jansen in March, said funding digital infrastructure “is not something that’s nice to do, it’s critical for the country”.

BT's Allison Kirkby said funding digital infrastructure 'is not something that’s nice to do, it’s critical for the country'

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BT’s Allison Kirkby said funding digital infrastructure ‘is not something that’s nice to do, it’s critical for the country’Credit: BT Group

BT has connected 14million homes and said it would add four million more a year to reach its goal of 25million by 2026.

Ms Kirkby said: “We’ll have the fibre backbone of the country better, faster and more efficiently than anyone else.”

The Glaswegian has arrived at a critical time for BT — as it balances replacing its old copper network and 3G mobile without raising customer bills too much.

At the same time, its share price has languished due to years of costly investment and little return for investors.

Ms Kirkby tried to sweeten the City on her debut outing yesterday by ramping up cost-cutting to £3billion and upping the dividend by 4 per cent to 8p-a-share.

Still, BT’s profits have slumped by 31 per cent to £1.2billion.

The chief exec said the firm has passed the peak of investment and is at an “inflection point on our long-term strategy”.

She revealed BT will “intensify its focus on the UK” and look at options for its international businesses, including partnering with rivals and exiting some markets.

BT plans to axe up to 55,000 jobs — 40 per cent of its workforce — by the end of 2030.

Ms Kirkby said no further cuts would be made, but the firm is using AI to remove the need to replace call centre workers.

A fat lot of good

DENMARK’S economy is being powered by booming demand for fat jabs, leading to it being jokingly dubbed a “one-company country”.

Its government now predicts growth will be twice previous estimates — due to drug firm Novo Nordisk, maker of Wegovy and Ozempic.

The Scandinavian nation’s economy is now expected to grow at 2.7 per cent this year, instead of 1.4 per cent.

Without it, growth would have stalled.

Watching out for taxman!

SNATCHES by “Rolex ripper” gangs have failed to hit sales at the brand’s biggest UK seller.

Some 7,000 such watch thefts off wrists were reported in London alone last year.

Seven thousand watch thefts off wrists were reported in London alone last year

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Seven thousand watch thefts off wrists were reported in London alone last yearCredit: Reuters

But Watches Of Switzerland said the only problem for UK growth was the lack of VAT shopping relief compared to Europe.

Boss Brian Duffy said: “I say to people they shouldn’t be overt with obvious symbols of wealth.

“They need to be sensible and sensitive, in the same way you wouldn’t wear a beautiful diamond necklace in public.”

On the other hand, he said the decision to scrap tourist tax relief “seems crazy to us” — and called for it to return, to win back business from Paris and Milan.

The firm posted a 4 per cent rise in fourth-quarter sales to £380million, though that was largely fuelled by US growth.

It expects sales to rise from £1.5billion to £1.6billion.

A premier win

HIGHER prices and porridge pots boosted Premier Foods, with its Ambrosia brand now making £100million a year.

Boss Alex Whitehouse has claimed “many of our products are actually cheaper than a year ago”.

But the prices are still much higher than two years ago, before the cost-of-living crisis.

Premier’s annual sales rose by 15.1 per cent to £1.2billion, while its profits have jumped by more than a third from £112.4million to £151.4million.

Its share price has quadrupled in the past five years.

Super growth

HEALTH and beauty chain Superdrug plans to open 25 new shops.

Around 500 new jobs will be created by the move.

The retailer is also extending seven and refurbishing 60 of its existing stores.

It has 780 across the UK and Ireland.

Water surprise

THE water company ranked last year as the UK’s biggest polluter has increased its dividend for shareholders — days after a major sewage leak was revealed.

United Utilities awarded a £334million dividend, or 49.7p a share, after revenues of almost £2billion and a 17.5 per cent rise in underlying operating profits to £517.8million in the year to March 31.

United is accused of leaking millions of litres of raw sewage into Lake Windermere, Cumbria, in February.

It said a telecoms fault stopped pumps.

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