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The chairman of African no-frills airline Fastjet has stepped down “with immediate effect”.
David Lenigas has been replaced as executive chairman by the company’s CEO Ed Winter on an interim basis until a new permanent chairman is appointed.
The move comes just a week after Fastjet’s own auditor expressed concerns about the airline’s ability to keep running as a going concern.
Lenigas said: “This is a time of transition for Fastjet both operationally and in terms of shareholder structure as its major shareholder, Lonrho, is likely to have a new owner in the coming weeks as a result of the current offer for Lonrho.
“It therefore seems to be a good time for me to step down to pursue my other interests and hand over the reins as Fastjet moves to the next stage of growth.”
Lonrho, which is Fastjet’s biggest shareholder, is due to be taken over by Swiss investment firm FS Africa for £175 million. Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou helped to set up Fastjet last year and also has a 5 per cent shareholding in the airline.
Lenigas added: “I see a very bright future for a low-cost airline on the continent of Africa. Fastjet has the right model to succeed and it almost goes without saying that I wish Fastjet all success.
“I believe that the company has one of the finest airline management teams anywhere in the world. Their considerable early achievements in route development, capacity utilisation, customer satisfaction and community relations pay testament to this.”
Fastjet is currently operating domestic services around Tanzania but plans to start flights in South Africa from next month.