Virgin Australia has appointed former Queensland Rail boss Paul Scurrah as chief executive and managing director following an eight-month search.
Mr Scurrah, who has been in chief executive roles of port and supply chain operator DP World Australia for the past five years, will take over from John Borghetti on March 25, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Mr Borghetti said last year he was stepping down after eight years in charge of the carrier, which lost $681 million in the last financial year but hopes to report a first-half profit next week.
Mr Scurrah’s annual remuneration is understood to be $1.3 million, which includes cash salary, superannuation, director’s fees and other benefits.
Chairman Elizabeth Bryan said on Wednesday the company is confident Mr Scurrah, who lives in Virgin Australia’s home city of Brisbane, can deliver the next phase of its strategy.
“The board received enormous interest in the role both locally and internationally and Paul’s highly relevant transport and logistics expertise, and strong commercial background, make him the ideal candidate to consolidate the group’s achievements and continue to build momentum in the future,” she said in a statement.
“Paul’s significant leadership in driving transformation and improving customer satisfaction in complex and challenging businesses is highly impressive and his background in aviation provides the right foundation to steer the Virgin Australia Group into the future.”
Mr Scurrah will divide his time between Virgin Australia’s Brisbane operational headquarters and the group’s corporate headquarters in Sydney until he officially assumes his post.
“Leading the Virgin Australia Group is an immense honour and privilege,” he said in a statement.
“The group has positioned itself as a real competitor in the market with its ability to deliver across all segments and I am excited to be joining such a progressive and innovative business.”
Shares in Virgin Australia were last trading at 18.5 cents, down from 23 cents a year ago and 36 per cent lower than a two-and-a-half-year high of 29 cents in December 2017.