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Stephen Kavanagh (left) with current Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller back in 2011.
Stephen Kavanagh (left) with current Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller back in 2011.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Inside hire: Aer Lingus has chosen a long-time employee as its new boss

Stephen Kavanagh has worked at the airline for 26 years.
Feb 16th 2015, 10:05 AM 17,290 15

Updated 10.05 am

AER LINGUS HAS chosen a long-time employee as its new CEO amid continued speculation about the future of Ireland’s national airline.

Following the announcement that Christoph Mueller will step down at the end of this month, Stephen Kavanagh is to take on the top role from 1 March onwards.

Kavanagh has worked at the airline since 1988 and has been a member of senior management since 2006, currently holding the role as chief of strategy and planning.

German-born Mueller has held the top job at Aer Lingus since 2009 and is leaving to become CEO of Malaysia Airlines.

Announcing the new CEO, Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington made reference to Kavanagh’s long service with the Dublin-based carrier.

“I am particularly pleased that it has been possible and appropriate for an internal Aer Lingus executive to succeed to the position of CEO,” he said.

“Stephen has worked in Aer Lingus for over 26 years in a range of increasingly challenging roles and he has a commanding knowledge of both the company and the industry,”

The announcement comes as the €1.35 billion  buyout offer from the International Airlines Group continues to be debated by both Aer Lingus shareholders and politicians.

Former Aer Lingus CEO and current IAG boss Willie Walsh appeared before the Oireachtas Transport Committee last week in an attempt to convince politicians that the group represents the best deal for the airline.

On Friday, Aer Lingus repeated its support for the bid.

“The strong view of the board of Aer Lingus is that the prospect of Aer Lingus being part of the IAG Group has a compelling commercial logic for Aer Lingus, has significantly positive benefits for Ireland and is strongly supportive of the Irish government’s two airline policy,” Barrington said.

Read: Why does IAG want to get its hands on Aer Lingus so badly? >

Read: Small airline, small country, small minds – the Aer Lingus story >

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Rónán Duffy

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