easyJet founder determined to cancel 107 Airbus jet order by removing directors

©easyJet

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier easyJet, is looking to oust the carrier’s current chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, and non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth, in an attempt to have an order for 107 jets with Airbus canceled.

Haji-Ioannou was opposed to the purchase of the jets, valued at approximately US$5.5 billion, from the very beginning, but with easyJet deciding to ground its entire fleet during the coronavirus pandemic he feels this is not a time to be making major capital expenditures when there are other debts that still need repaying. He was referring to the repayment of a U.K. government loan in March 2021 and is threatening legal action if easyJet ends up paying Airbus but is unable to meet its other financial commitments.

easyJet has confirmed that it had received notices from UBS Private Banking Nominees and Vidacos Nominees, both of the investment firms having Haji-Ioannou as a major shareholder, to requisition a general meeting to remove Findlay and non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth.

“We remain absolutely focused on removing expenditure from the business, engaging with all of our business partners and suppliers including Airbus, and on safeguarding jobs and short-term liquidity,” an easyJet spokeswoman advised in an email. The carrier said accessing the government’s COVID Corporate Finance Facility was in the best interests of the company and that Andrew Findlay had the board’s full support.

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