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Having steered Virgin back to profitability, Jane Hrdlicka announces shock resignation

Virgin Australia’s Jayne Hrdlicka has decided to step down as chief executive after successfully steering the airline out of administration and into profitability.

Feb 20, 2024, updated Feb 20, 2024
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka is seen during a press conference at Brisbane Airport in Brisbane, Thursday, May 20, 2021. Virgin Australia has announced they plan to fly more than 700 extra weekly domestic flights and will appoint 250 new jobs as part of their new domestic growth plan (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka is seen during a press conference at Brisbane Airport in Brisbane, Thursday, May 20, 2021. Virgin Australia has announced they plan to fly more than 700 extra weekly domestic flights and will appoint 250 new jobs as part of their new domestic growth plan (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING

The board of Virgin Australia will begin a global search process for a new CEO, the company announced on Tuesday.

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

“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.”

The next phase of Virgin Australia’s transformation will include an initial public offering, Ms Hrdlicka’s statement confirmed.

A date hasn’t been officially announced but is believed to be planned for the March quarter.

“The next phase of this journey is another three to five years, making now the perfect juncture to begin the process of leadership transition,” she said.

Virgin Australia chairman Ryan Cotton said Ms 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, Ms Hrdlicka remains the chairwoman of Tennis Australia.

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