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London: Fastjet Shares Drop Further As Boss Bezuidenhout Plans September Exit

Shares in Fastjet PLC fell sharply Tuesday after Chief Executive Officer Nico Bezuidenhout announced he will leave the African low-cost airline by the end of September.

Shares in Fastjet were 7.9% lower at 1.45 pence in London on Tuesday. The stock has lost 74% of its value in the past 12 months.

Bezuidenhout - boss since August 2016 - is leaving Fastjet to re-join an unnamed business for which he previously served as "the original founding CEO", Fastjet explained.

Between 2006 and 2016, Bezuidenhout served as chief executive at low-cost airline peer Mango Airlines. Mango is part of state-owned flag carrier South African Airways.

"On behalf of the board and myself, I would like to thank Nico for his efforts, dedication and time invested over the last three years in favour of Fastjet and its shareholders," Fastjet Chair Rashid Wally said. "The fastjet of today is a fundamentally different business compared to three years ago and we wish Nico well in his future endeavours."

During the remaining three months period, Bezuidenhout will continue to "oversee "specific projects" as well as assist with the handover of responsibilities. During this time, Deputy CEO Mark Hurst will assume the post of acting CEO during the handover period before becoming CEO until a permanent replacement is hired.

"We are delighted to have someone of Mark's calibre already on the board," Wally added. "Mark will be focused on continuing to consolidate Fastjet's position in its core markets as well as explore other opportunities for growth."

Hurst has been deputy boss since January, having joined Fastjet in July 2018.

On Friday last week, Fastjet said its loss deepened significantly in 2018 as one-off costs hurt, despite revenue surging as it expanded its operations. The carrier's pretax loss deepened to USD57.8 million from USD11.2 million the year prior. This was despite revenue rising to USD38.5 million from USD14.4 million the year before.


By: Ahren Lester


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