French steps down at Flybe, new chairman appointed

Flybe Group non-executive chairman Jim French (pictured) has stood down with Simon Laffin, currently chairman of Assura Group and chairman of the Audit Committee at Quintain Estates & Development, taking over the role with immediate effect.
Laffin was group finance and property director at Safeway between 1994 and 2004 and has served as a non-executive director at Aegis Group, Mitchells & Butlers, Northern Rock (as part of the rescue team), as well as chairman of the Hozelock Group.
On his departure, French commented, "I joined Flybe in 1990 and have been privileged to lead the company as chief executive since 2001, adding the role of chairman in 2005. As part of an orderly transition in August this year we appointed Saad Hammad as chief executive officer, and today we announce the appointment of Simon Laffin as our new non-executive chairman. We are fortunate to have attracted two high calibre and experienced individuals to lead the group in the future. I wish Simon and Saad, the executive team and all members of staff the very best for the future."
CEO Saad Hammad added, "Jim French deserves recognition as the architect of Flybe's development into a leading regional airline and, on behalf of everyone at Flybe, I would like to thank him for his contribution over many years.
"I am pleased to welcome Simon Laffin to the Flybe Group board as our non-executive chairman,” Haamad continued. “We have an exciting time ahead and I look forward to working closely with Simon whose extensive board experience of diverse businesses will be of immense importance to me and the executive team.”
"I am delighted to be joining the Board and, in particular, look forward to working with Saad Hammad. Flybe has many challenges ahead, but I believe that under the new management team the Group will be developed into a leading regional aviation operator," Laffin continued.

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