Aer Lingus names company veteran as group’s new chief executive

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Aer Lingus has announced that its new chief executive will be a senior manager with 26 years’ service with the airline.

Stephen Kavanagh will take up the role on March 1 after the respected Christoph Mueller leaves.

His promotion was announced as the International Airlines Group presses on with drumming support up for its £1bn bid for Aer Lingus.

Mr Kavanagh is a graduate of University College Dublin and joined Aer Lingus in 1988.

He had a number of roles in operations and commercial departments before being appointed an executive in 2006 and working on Aer Lingus’s stock market flotation.

He has been chief commercial officer from 2009, where he led improvements in retail and revenue management, partner and network development.

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington 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 indus- try.

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

“Stephen has been a key member of the executive team that, over the last five years, has transformed Aer Lingus into a strong, profitable airline with a resilient business model and an improved cost base.”

Aer Lingus has given its qualified backing to BA-owner IAG’s takeover approach.

A formal recommendation is subject to the Irish state selling its 25 per cent hold- ing.