Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka announces surprise resignation

Hrdlicka has let Virgin through four turbulent years.

Hrdlicka has let Virgin through four turbulent years. Photo: AAP

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has announced she is standing down after almost four years helming the airline.

Virgin on Tuesday announced that Hrdlicka had decided “now is the time” to finish in her role. She will remain as CEO for a transitional period and a global search for her replacement will commence shortly.

Hrdlicka became Virgin CEO in 2020 and guided the airline through a challenging period after it was acquired by Bain Capital out of administration during the pandemic.

I have decided the time is right for me to signal CEO transition for this great airline and ultimately to pass the baton on,” Hrdlicka said in a statement.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly, but the last four years have been heavy lifting across the organisation during the toughest of times,” she said.

Hrdlicka’s departure comes as the Virgin prepares for a much anticipated IPO this year.

Investors had expected Bain to relaunch Virgin on the Australian Securities Exchange last year, but the business held off.

It is not known when or if the IPO will go ahead this year, or if Hrdlicka’s resignation will affect those plans.

Virgin Australia chairman Ryan Cotton said Hrdlicka had led the airline through the most turbulent times in its over 20 year history, returning it to profitability for the first time in 11 years and had laid a strong foundation for continued growth.

He thanked Ms Hrdlicka for her leadership, commitment and dedication.

Virgin Australia entered into voluntary administration early in April 2020, an early high-profile corporate victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bain Capital acquired the airline a few months later and streamlined and refocused it.

A former chief executive of A2 Milk Co and Jetstar Group, Hrdlicka remains the chairwoman of Tennis Australia.

Topics: Airline
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