Flybe finance chief departs in board shake-up

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Flybe has announced the departure of chief financial officer Andrew Knuckey following a change in leadership at the regional airline.

Knuckey, who joined in 2005 and has been the low-cost carrier’s chief financial officer since 2007, will leave “to pursue a number of finance opportunities” once his successor has been appointed and a suitable hand-over period has been completed.

Flybe said: “The board wishes him and his family well for the future and also thanks him for his major contribution over the last eight years.”

Knuckey’s decision to leave follows last week’s arrival of new boss Saam Hammad, who took up the post after the group decided to split the top jobs. Scots-born former chief executive Jim French remains as chairman.

Flybe also said that Paul Simmons, EasyJet’s director for the UK market, will be joining as chief commercial officer on 28 October.

In his new role, Simmons will be reunited with former EasyJet colleague Hammad, who was chief commercial officer at the airline from 2005 to 2009.

EasyJet recently pledged to maintain services between Inverness and Gatwick after paying £20 million for Flybe’s package of take-off and landing slots at the London airport. The sale, which Flybe blamed on “discriminatory” price rises imposed by the airport on operators of smaller planes, came amid a cost-cutting drive that has axed more than 20 per cent of the airline’s workforce and trimmed pilots’ pay by up to 5 per cent.

Flybe also announced that corporate strategy director Mark Chown, outsourcing solutions boss Mike Rutter and Andrew Strong, managing director of Flybe UK, have stepped down from the board with immediate effect but will remain with the business, reporting to Hammad.