Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah
Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah

Union ends Virgin talks amid CEO sacking rumour

Virgin Australia is in turmoil with reports CEO Paul Scurrah will be sacked within days, prompting the Transport Workers Union to end enterprise negotiations in protest.

The Courier Mail understands Mr Scurrah, who led the airline through its most tumultuous time in history, will be shown the door just weeks after American investment giant Bain Capital took ownership of the airline.

It is expected former Jetstar boss and Bain Adviser Jayne Hrdlicka will take the reins of Virgin.

The TWU, which battled Ms Hrdlicka while she ran Jetstar, has suspended enterprise agreement negotiations amid the rumour and fear Virgin would be "dragged into a low-cost model".

Jayne Hrdlicka arrives at Brisbane Airport to a waiting limo on Sunday.
Jayne Hrdlicka arrives at Brisbane Airport to a waiting limo on Sunday.

Virgin declined to comment on the speculation and Bain Capital has been contacted.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the reports of Mr Scurrah's demise were a worrying development for the airline.

"The ink is not yet dry on the sale of Virgin and it appears that private equity firm Bain Equity are behaving as we feared: ripping out the heart of Virgin and reneging on promises to the Australian people," he said.

"We are suspending negotiations on enterprise agreements while we seek clarification on these developments.

"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."

Mr Scurrah recently revealed how dragging the airline from administration, with the leadership of Deloitte, took its toll on him.

"It wasn't a difficult decision, but it was the most confronting decision I've ever had to face," Mr Scurrah told the Courier Mail.

"It was a very stressful environment to be in, we knew a whole heap of panic and worry would follow that announcement.

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah recently helped the airline relocate to South Bank. Pic: Lyndon Mechielsen
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah recently helped the airline relocate to South Bank. Pic: Lyndon Mechielsen

"It (administration) was something we were monitoring for weeks and weeks and (COVID-19) made it a very fast-moving, decision-making environment."

Mr Kaine said the TWU had done "very little" to support Virgin.

"We want answers from the Federal Government also on these developments and how it expects to save jobs at Virgin," he said.

"If confirmed it shows how the Federal Government has stood by and allowed a private equity firm to take over one of Australia's most valuable assets and renege on commitments."



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