An integrated management structure for Virgin Blue and V Australia was announced internally in the Virgin Blue group this afternoon, with clear signals as to where new CEO and former Qantas executive gm, John Borghetti is taking the group.
The changes put in place the organisational bedrock of an airline that will have a single brand strategy and new product offerings, all to be revealed within a few months.
Borghetti has created an group executive level reporting to himself which appears to be a much leaner clone of the top management tier that he resigned from at Qantas more than 13 months ago.
Liz Savage, who had only been in her former role of chief commercial officer for Virgin Blue since the end of March becomes group executive commercial, to whom one of Borghetti’s recent recruitments from Qantas, yield management officer Will Owens will report.
This brings revenue and network management across all of the group’s activities under Savage’s control. An engineer and business management expert, Savage was recruited last year from a career at Monarch Airlines and Holidays in the UK, which had been preceded by senior management responsibilities at easyJet, Europe’s second largest and most business travel focused low cost airline.
Group executive operations is Andrew David, who had last year ruled himself out as a replacement for Brett Godfrey, the founding CEO of the Virgin Blue Group.
The other strategically significant appointments include one of the Virgin Blue ‘originals’ Martin Daley, who becomes GE for Product and Guest Services across the soon to be single branded Virgin Blue and V Australia networks. Daley was recruited early in 2000 from Virgin Atlantic and has been a potent force in building and evolving the Virgin Blue culture.
Insiders say his enhanced role reflects Borghetti’s major agenda for product innovation and service standards aimed at frequent and higher yielding business and discretionary travel customers.
This is also the case with his recruitment from Qantas of their general manager government and international relations Jane McKeon to become group executive Government Relations, reflecting Borghetti’s emphasis on securing more government or public administration accounts, and whatever his plans might be for refocussing and ultimately expanding the reach of the group’s loss making V Australia operations.
The changes absorb what was previously a stand alone unit managing V Australia, although it is understood most of those executives have been offered continuing roles with the soon to be renamed single group.
Asked for a tight statement of intent, the response from within the senior management ranks is that “this is all about clearer accountability, greater emphasis on customer services and government relations, and a unity of purpose under a single branding.”
Which sounds like ‘game on.’