Posted on: 06 January 2016 by Mark Howells
Spirit Airlines has announced Robert Fornaro will succeed Ben Baldanza (pictured left) as president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.
“Following the tremendous growth and success of Spirit over the last 10 years, the board and I have concluded that this is the right time to implement an orderly succession plan,” remarked Baldanza. “Bob is the right choice to lead the company through its next phase of growth. I want to thank the management team and all our team members for their support and efforts in making Spirit the success that it is today. I am focused on supporting a seamless transition and wish the company and Bob continued success in the future.”
Baldanza joined Spirit in 2005 as chief operating officer and served as president and CEO from 2006. Fornaro has more than 35 years of experience across various senior leadership and advisory roles.
“I am honoured by the board's selection and am excited to have the opportunity to lead Spirit,” stated Fornaro, who will also continue to serve as a member of Spirit's board. “Spirit's focus will remain delivering a customer-friendly product and providing the lowest total price to the places we fly. I look forward to working with the rest of Spirit's management team and team members to grow the company's proven ultra low-cost model and drive value for all of Spirit's stockholders.”
McIntyre Gardner, Spirit's non-executive chairman, explained, “Ben was instrumental in transitioningSpirit into a highly successful ultra low-cost carrier, a significant achievement in the airline industry, which benefited our employees and customers. On behalf of the board and everyone at Spirit, I would like to thank Ben for his contributions, dedication and stewardship these past ten and a half years as Spirit's business model has become firmly established as a critical low-fare choice that consumers appreciate when thinking of air travel. We wish Ben and his family all the best.”
“Bob's deep knowledge of Spirit and his background, skills and operational expertise give the board full confidence that he is the right leader to deliver on the next phase of Spirit Airlines' growth story,” added Gardner. “As a member of Spirit's board and a veteran of the low-cost airline industry, Bob has been a passionate supporter of Spirit's business model and strategy, and we are pleased to welcome him to the management team at Spirit.”