Connect Airways appoints Mark Anderson as CEO

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The board of Connect Airways – the company jointly owned by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and funds managed by Cyrus Capital Partners has appointed Mark Anderson as chief executive officer (CEO) of Connect Airways.

Connect Airways will acquire management control over Flybe once merger clearance has been received from the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation.

Anderson joins Connect Airways from his current role as executive vice president for customer at Virgin Atlantic.

Since February 2017 he has successfully led the strategy, creation and delivery of the world famous Virgin Atlantic customer experience. In his role Mark was instrumental in putting Customer at the heart of Virgin Atlantic’s goal to be the most loved travel company.

Previously he was senior vice president and managing director of Virgin Holidays where in less than three years, he developed a high performing team that achieved record people engagement scores and operating profits with strong customer advocacy. He has over 25 years of senior management experience in retailing and travel.

Connect Airways is an independent airline operating under one management team and owned 40 per cent by Cyrus, 30 per cent by the Stobart Group and 30 per cent by Virgin Atlantic.

Once merger clearance is received, Connect Airways said it will provide a strong foundation to secure the long-term future of Flybe, building on the strong financial backing and expertise of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus.

The new group said it will offer more choice by linking airports around the UK to Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul network through improved connectivity, particularly at Manchester Airport and London Heathrow.

It said it will also focus on maintaining Stobart Air’s position as the preeminent franchise-flying business and in due course, Connect Airways will use the strength of the Virgin brand, and offer an enhanced customer experience in line with this.

Connect Airways chairman, Lucien Farrell said: “On behalf of the entire Connect Airways Board, I’m delighted to appoint Mark as CEO of Connect Airways. Mark has a proven record of leadership, strategy and commercial delivery.

“I look forward to working closely with him and supporting the Connect Airways team as they set out to continue growing the business while transforming the experience customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.”

Virgin Atlantic CEO, Shai Weiss added: “I’m delighted to see Mark appointed CEO of Connect Airways. As the team prepares to launch under a Virgin brand, Mark’s experience and insights from his time at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays will be invaluable.

“Under Mark’s watch, Virgin Atlantic was recently voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX two years running in the Official Airline Ratings. With his absolute focus on customers and business performance, I can think of no better leader to ensure Connect Airways is successful in achieving its ambitions.”