Thursday, January 25, 2018

New easyJet CEO’s strategy includes management revamp, data push

Johan Lundgren, the new CEO of UK LCC easyJet, has axed the role of CCO and is prioritizing data after two months leading the airline.

Giving his first public briefing since becoming CEO on Dec. 1, former TUI Group deputy CEO Lundgren said he had been “exceptionally impressed” by the fundamentals of easyJet’s “clearly winning” strategy.

These fundamentals include building a strong network, based on number one and two positions in key European cities, as well as a “relentless” focus on cost control and efficiency. People, both passengers and staff, are also at the core of easyJet’s strategy and Lundgren said the LCC has engaged with customers in a way that no other airline has.

“My goal is to take easyJet from strength to strength,” he said, cementing the airline’s role as a “structural winner” in the European short-haul market. EasyJet’s robust network will help drive revenues, while stringent cost control will continue to be key to the airline’s competitive advantage.

“There is a great framework and great strategic platform to build upon, but every company has to evolve,” he said.

One of Lundgren’s initial moves was to make the position of CCO—which was held by Peter Duffy—redundant, redistributing those responsibilities to other functions. Some of those duties will be taken on by the new role of chief data officer, which will report directly to the CEO. Hiring for that position will begin immediately. Lundgren will work closely with the other functions previously overseen by the CCO to decide whether they need to be reallocated.

“I decided I wanted to take revenue, finance and yield and put them under the same responsibility as scheduling of aircraft, because it creates a more holistic view of revenue intake and broadens schedule quality. As part of those changes, the current position of CCO wasn’t there anymore, so it became redundant. As a result of that, Peter Duffy has left the business. I don’t expect any other board changes.”

The chief data officer will be charged with looking at “half-a-million data points” held by the airline, deciding what to collect and how to use that information to drive further efficiencies.

Lundgren described easyJet’s data pool as a “tremendous asset” that can be tapped to boost efficiency and quality, increase revenues, improve decision making, create new ways of engaging with passengers and drive innovation. This will be a “success factor” for easyJet, he said.

While easyJet already has a “very strong position on European short haul,” Lundgren sees further opportunities. He stressed the strategic significant of easyJet acquiring parts of airberlin, but described the market as “still quite fragmented,” with easyJet only holding 10% market share, despite its strength and size. “I still believe there is quite a long way to go organically,” he said.

Lundgren left TUI in May 2015. He described easyJet as a contemporary company that has transformed the way that people travel. “I have always loved the company as a customer and, as a competitor, I was impressed by it,” he said.

(Victoria Moores - ATWOnline News)

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