Aer Lingus chief Stephen Kavanagh to step down next year

Stephen Kavanagh will be replaced by British Airways executive Sean Doyle

Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh will step down at the beginning of next year to "pursue other interests", but he will stay on the airline's board as a non-executive director.

Mr Kavanagh, who will leave his post on January 1st 2019, will be replaced by Corkman Sean Doyle (47), the director of network, fleet and alliances at British Airways (BA).

“After a 30-year career in Aer Lingus with the last four years as chief executive, I’ve taken the decision to step down to pursue other interests,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“By any objective measure Aer Lingus has been successful in recent years and continues to have significant opportunity to build upon the strong fundamentals of our value model . . . I look forward to working with Sean as he transitions into his new role and wish him and all my colleagues continued success,” he added.



Chief executive of Aer Lingus-owner IAG, Willie Walsh, said Mr Kavanagh has been an "exceptional chief executive" who has transformed and modernised the airline.

“We’re delighted that Stephen will remain on Aer Lingus’s board and provide advice and guidance to the airline,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Kavanagh's replacement joined BA in 1998, starting as a financial analyst. During his time with the company he has served in a number of roles including finance director of BA cargo, head of corporate strategy and executive vice president of BA in the Americas.

While Mr Doyle will take over as chief executive, Mike Rutter, the airline's chief operating officer, has extended his contract, "and will work with Sean to ensure that the airline continues to deliver its strong performance," Mr Walsh said.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business