Gur­ney to Emi­rates role

Travel Bulletin - - STATE OF THE INDUSTRY -

IT would have been in­trigu­ing to see the re­sponse across the Hel­loworld net­work late last month when the group’s for­mer CEO, Rob Gur­ney, was named as the new Aus­tralasian head of Emi­rates. The an­nounce­ment came al­most ex­actly six months since his shock res­ig­na­tion from Hel­loworld – part way through its mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion from the for­mer Jet­set Trav­el­world Group, and just a week or so af­ter the com­pany’s an­nual re­port re­vealed that he was still on the pay­roll and thus con­tin­u­ing to col­lect part of his sign-on bonus due to the ex­quis­ite tim­ing of his res­ig­na­tion. Gur­ney’s re­turn to a se­nior avi­a­tion role is not par­tic­u­larly sur­pris­ing, given his 14 year ca­reer at Qan­tas where he de­parted in 2012 af­ter a reshuf­fle dis­placed him from his for­mer role as Group Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mer­cial and Freight. Iron­i­cally, his new po­si­tion with Emi­rates also sees him re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the car­rier’s wide-rang­ing part­ner­ship with Qan­tas, where his ex­ten­sive in­sider knowl­edge of the Aus­tralian car­rier will no doubt stand him in good stead. One also has to feel some­thing for Bryan Banston, who has “elected to leave the com­pany” and now could be seen as hav­ing kept the seat warm for Gur­ney af­ter tak­ing over the EK Aus­trala­sia role just 12 months ago when his pre­de­ces­sor, Barry Brown, moved to Dubai to take up a more se­nior po­si­tion with the car­rier. Given Gur­ney’s wide ex­pe­ri­ence of avi­a­tion, some have spec­u­lated that the Aus­tralasian role with Emi­rates may be a step­ping stone to some­thing big­ger. When he left Hel­loworld in March, the com­pany said he was de­part­ing “to pur­sue a new op­por­tu­nity with an in­ter­na­tional fo­cus”.

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