Virgin boss Paul Scurrah exit imminent after Bain takeover

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‘”This [Mr Scurrah’s exit] has been widely speculated but the ongoing denials from Bain have until now shut it down,” said one company source.

Another said company insiders had expected Bain to replace all of Virgin’s senior executives and management, with former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka – a former Bain executive who advised the firm on its bid for Virgin – expected to play a key role.

“We think they’re going down a budget path, and Paul doesn’t have budget carrier experience” the senior management source said.

Mr Scurrah successfully talked Bain around to backing his view, after the private equity firm’s local boss Mike Murphy earlier said he envisioned Virgin as a “hybrid” airline operating somewhere between Qantas and Jetstar.

Mr Scurrah’s ongoing involvement at the airline and vision for it to remain a full-service carrier with international operations was critical for Bain to win the support of Virgin’s 9000 workers over and vote in favour of its takeover offer last month.

The Transport Workers Union said it had suspended negotiations with Bain over a new enterprise bargaining agreement, and believed Bain was reneging on its commitment to maximise jobs, maintain a full-capacity network, full-service offering and to fly internationally.

“The ink is not yet dry on the sale of Virgin and it appears that private equity firm Bain Capital are behaving as we feared: ripping out the heart of Virgin and reneging on promises to the Australian people,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement.

“If the plan and scope of the airline as outlined in August by Bain Capital has already been scrapped then this is a serious betrayal that must be addressed.”

A suite of senior executives have quietly left Virgin in recent weeks following the approval of Bain’s takeover, but their departures have not been announced publicly. That includes chief strategy officer Michael Jones, head of corporate sale Anne Elliot and general manager of alliances and international sales Phil Squires.

One of the company insiders said that before the all-important creditors vote last month, “Bain were saying all the nice things about keeping as much of the workforce as possible”.

A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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