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London-listed shares in EasyJet (LON:EZJ) slipped in early trading on Thursday after the budget carrier announced that Chief Executive Johan Lundgren will be st

Easy Jet

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EasyJet CEO Succession Plan: What Lies Ahead for the Budget Carrier?

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Image credit: Maxim Hopman

London-listed shares in EasyJet (LON:EZJ) slipped in early trading on Thursday after the budget carrier announced that Chief Executive Johan Lundgren will be stepping down in 2025.

Lundgren has spent seven years at the firm after coming over to the business from travel group Tui. During his tenure, Lundgren oversaw a time of deep financial stress caused by COVID-related travel restrictions, and has led efforts to recover from the crisis.

In October, Lundgren said the company had ordered over 150 aircraft as part of a push to take advantage of an ongoing surge in travel demand. Chief Financial Officer Kenton Jarvis, who is set to replace Lundgren at the helm of easyJet at the beginning of January next year, said he backed the board's plans to boost performance.

Jarvis will face the task of persuading skeptical investors, with shares in easyJet trading well below pre-pandemic levels. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets, however, argued that "management transition risk will be limited" by his promotion.

The group posted a pre-tax loss of 350 million pounds in its fiscal first half, compared to analysts' expectations for a loss of 340 million pounds, according to a LSEG poll cited by Reuters. But it was narrower than a loss of 392 million pounds in the year-ago period.

A jump in fuel prices and investments in its holidays business pushed up headline costs at EasyJet, although revenues were boosted by an 11% bump in passenger traffic.

The RBC analysts flagged that easyJet's guidance has removed language describing fourth-quarter revenue per seat (RPS) as "well ahead," saying instead that airline load factors and yields will improve.

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