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Fyfe to leave Air NZ at end of year

Tuesday 31st January 2012 4 Comments

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Rob Fyfe, who helped buffer Air New Zealand from a turbulent global airline industry during six years as chief executive, will leave at the end of 2012, clearing the way for a new head as the government prepares to sell down its controlling stake.

Fyfe’s departure on Dec. 31 coincides with the end of his term as chairman of the Star Alliance group of airlines and the completion of four years as a board member of the International Air Transport Association.

“We would expect significant international interest in the role and believe there are some very strong candidates from within Air New Zealand’s existing executive management team,” chairman John Palmer said in a statement. Fyfe’s replacement may be found in about six months, he said.

Palmer said Fyfe had ensured the airline “remained profitable despite the backdrop of turbulent economic times that have seen airlines lose billions globally.”

Fyfe was appointed in October 2005, taking the helm from corporate high flier Ralph Norris. The shares peaked above $16 in 1995 and had tumbled to around $1.10 by the time Fyfe was appointed. They fell 1.1 percent to 90 cents on the NZX today.

The government has flagged its three-quarters stake in the airline as among assets it plans to sell down over the next few years. It intends to retain a holding of just over 50 percent.


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Comments from our readers

On 31 January 2012 at 11:48 am money said:
Why is the government so intent on selling our assets at this time. You don't need to be that bright to realise that selling off assets in the current economic environment isn't going to reliase the best return. Just ask those people that have sold houses in the last couple of years! Asset sales might not be a bad idea in principle but if you're going to take that path at least do it when the assets are in demand and the price is high. There are plenty of cash-rich organisations that will be rubbing their hands with excitement at the prospect of getting a bigger slice of the best airline in the world. While we're at it why not give away the airports, our farmland, mineral exploration rights etc... oh that's right, we're doing that too!
On 31 January 2012 at 3:47 pm Genghis said:
@money: When times are tough, and you need cash, you'll sell what assets you have to get cash and pay down debt. When times are tough, everyone else is doing the same so there is a strong supply of assets hitting the market and probably a shortage of cash (less demand) for these assets for buyers. Great for people who have kept plenty of cash aside (i.e. savers) because this is the time to buy bargains. I watched a doco on TV7 the other day and saw an asian gentleman who earned USD 400 a month. The interviewer asked him how much he put aside for savings. He said 25%. And we bleat over a couple of per cent for Kiwisaver. The problem is one of attitudes and entrenched behaviours. The Asian gentlemen has no genetic bias that makes it easier for him to save more than we do. If you don't like it, then teach the next generation to save. Its too late for this one.
On 1 February 2012 at 5:29 pm john gardner said:
These assets are not realy owned if there is debt . More important is to get rid of reason for debt. ... ongoing non productive expenses such at 0ver 100 000 DPBs ... a real indightment on our society.. Always ask the question , why the debt? don't criticise the people who try to take responsibility to clear the debt.
On 2 February 2012 at 10:43 pm Hayden said:
@money They're not selling AIR right now anyway, it could be a few years away?? They're probably waiting for a better time...
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