Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd., Australia’s second-largest airline, hired John Borghetti as its next chief executive officer, a year after he quit larger rival Qantas Airways Ltd.
Borghetti, 54, will replace Brett Godfrey in the role from May 8, Brisbane-based Virgin Blue said in a statement today. He quit as executive general manager of Sydney-based Qantas last year after the airline promoted Alan Joyce to the CEO position.
The appointment comes after Virgin Blue last month announced a return to profitability and plans to order as many as 50 Boeing Co. 737 planes to underpin an expansion of Australian capacity. Godfrey has been Virgin Blue’s only CEO after helping found the carrier in 2000 with two planes and A$10 million ($9 million) from Richard Branson.
“I am thrilled today to welcome John Borghetti to the Virgin family,” Branson, the airline’s biggest shareholder, said in an e-mailed statement. “John has been in the aviation business for even longer than I have, has a deep understanding of the industry, strong sense of brand and many powerful ideas of his own.”
Virgin Blue rose 1.6 percent to 64 Australian cents at the close of trading on the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney. The stock has gained 8.5 percent this year after more than doubling in 2009.