Gurney to Emirates role
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”.