Chairman of easyJet to step down

EasyjetThe chairman of easyJet is to step down this summer after guiding the airline to the brink of the FTSE 100 Index.

As Sir Mike Rake is also chairman of BT, his departure will avoid a breach of guidelines that no-one should lead more than one FTSE 100 company at a time.

His exit takes the City veteran out of the firing line after a bruising battle with the airline's founder and largest shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, over executive bonuses and plans to order new planes.

The tycoon has made a number of attempts to oust Sir Mike, who has been chairman since January 2010. He will step down in the summer but in order to allow the company time to find a replacement the former chairman of KPMG International will stand for board re-election next month.

Sir Mike said: "In advance of the forthcoming AGM I wanted to make my position clear. easyJet has by any definition enjoyed a period of success and profitable growth in the last three years.

"As this takes the airline to the threshold of entry to the FTSE 100 it is the right time for me to stand down."

The airline is currently the 88th biggest public company in UK and with a market capitalisation of £3.7 billion is on track to enter the ranks of blue-chip firms when the next reshuffle takes place in March.

Its shares are currently at an all-time high and have surged 22% this year after the airline posted better-than-expected results last week.

Deputy chairman Charles Gurassa said: "All our stakeholders, passengers, shareholders and employees have benefited from the excellent performance of easyJet under his chairmanship."

Sir Stelios founded easyJet in 1995 and resigned as chairman about 10 years ago, although he remained as a director until 2010.
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