Carolyn McCall OBE is the Chief Executive Officer at easyJet Airlines. She joined easyJet on 1st July 2010 following a series of high profile jobs including; Chief Executive of Guardian Media Group plc, Non-Executive Director of Lloyds TSB (from 2008–2009), Non-Executive Director of Tesco Plc (2005-2008) and New Look plc (1999-2005). She was consider to be an unusual and surprising choice of CEO at the time but has since gone on to demonstrate her skill set was exactly what easyJet needed.
easyJet was going through a very difficult stage back in 2010, there was a long-running dispute in place with Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou’s easyGroup who still owns 37% of the company. The dispute was brought to a successful conclusion. McCall went on to completely re-visualise the company from a cheap-and-cheerful airline to one that delivers a good cost-effective service to both holiday makers and business users alike. Targeting business users was central to the plan through the introduction of allocated seating and punctuality improvements. These are two small changes that have had a very positive impact. This can be seen in the financial results: 2013 pre-tax profits climbed 21.5% to a record £581m and the share price has risen 288% in the past three years, placing easyJet in the FTSE 100.
Looking to the future, when questioned about an acquisition or merger strategy (seen by many airlines as a viable option in the current fragmented European airline industry) during a recent interview by the Daily Telegraph, McCall responded by saying “it takes an awful lot longer to implement consolidation than everyone thinks” and went on to say “It’s not a core part of our strategy, because we think we can grow without consolidating – we still think there’s a lot of growth to come from mainland Europe, But I think there is also possibly opportunity down the line.”
McCall’s strategic focus has resulted in a series of milestone events including reaching the landmark of 60m passengers carried annually and attracting more than 12m business travellers each year. In a final commet to the Daily Telegraph she said: “Nothing’s ever finished, [the airline is] just scratching the surface” of what it can do in business travel.