Connect Airways announces the appointment of Mark Anderson (VP Customer at Virgin Atlantic) as CEO

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Mark Anderson

The Board of Connect Airways Limited, the company jointly owned by Virgin Atlantic Limited, Stobart Group and funds managed by Cyrus Capital Partners, announces the appointment of Mark Anderson as CEO, Connect Airways. Connect Airways will acquire management control over Flybe Limited, once merger clearance has been received from the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation. Mark joins Connect Airways from his current role as Executive Vice President – Customer, Virgin Atlantic.

Since February 2017 Mark has successfully led the strategy, creation and delivery of the world famous Virgin Atlantic customer experience. In his role, Mark was instrumental in putting Customer at the heart of Virgin Atlantic’s goal to be the most loved travel company.

Previously he was Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Virgin Holidays where, in less than three years, he developed a high performing team that achieved record people engagement scores and operating profits with strong customer advocacy. He has over 25 years of senior management experience in retailing and travel.

Connect Airways is an independent airline operating under one management team and owned 40% by Cyrus, 30% by the Stobart Group and 30% by Virgin Atlantic.

Once merger clearance is received, Connect Airways will offer significant benefits for customers:

  • Provide a strong foundation to secure the long-term future of Flybe, building on the strong financial backing and expertise of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus
  • The new group will offer more choice by linking airports around the UK to Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul network through improved connectivity, particularly at Manchester Airport and London Heathrow
  • Continued focus on maintaining Stobart Air’s position as the preeminent franchise-flying business
  • In due course, Connect Airways will use the strength of the Virgin brand and offer an enhanced customer experience in line with this

Comment from Lucien Farrell, Chairman, Connect Airways:

On behalf of the entire Connect Airways Board, I’m delighted to appoint Mark as CEO of Connect Airways. Mark has a proven record of leadership, strategy and commercial delivery. I look forward to working closely with him and supporting the Connect Airways team as they set out to continue growing the business while transforming the experience customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.”

Comment from Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic:

I’m delighted to see Mark appointed CEO of Connect Airways. As the team prepares to launch under a Virgin brand, Mark’s experience and insights from his time at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays will be invaluable. Under Mark’s watch, Virgin Atlantic was recently voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX two years running in the Official Airline Ratings. With his absolute focus on customers and business performance, I can think of no better leader to ensure Connect Airways is successful in achieving its ambitions.”

Comment from Warwick Brady, CEO, Stobart Group:

Connect Airways represents a compelling financial and strategic opportunity. Having worked with Mark for some months I am confident he will build a talented team capable of establishing a well-structured, profitable airline. Under Mark’s leadership, we can develop a customer-centric regional connectivity strategy that incorporates London.

Comment from Mark Anderson, CEO, Connect Airways:

It’s a real privilege and honour for me to take on the leadership of Connect Airways, at this exciting time. We are focused on growing the airline while expanding our franchise business in Dublin, redefining what customers can expect from regional flying in the UK. We have all the building blocks in place: Flybe’s heritage and expertise in running Europe’s largest regional airline; the operational excellence and strength of Stobart Air; and in the near future, the magic of the Virgin brand. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

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