Stelios steps down from easyJet
LONDON, England (CNN) – Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur," is to step down as chairman of Europe's second-largest low-cost airline easyJet.
Haji-Ioannou, 35, founded the airline in 1995 but has been under pressure from institutional investors to relinquish control after the company floated on the London Stock Exchange in November 2000.
"It is a sign of maturity in a young company to have a chairman who is independent from the controlling shareholders," said Haji-Ioannou. "I took note of the concerns of institutional investors and I want to ensure the company abides by the highest standards of corporate governance."
The Greek shipping heir said he would remain a significant shareholder in the airline but would sell part of his stake.
"I have no other source of income from easyJet other than disposal of shares. As I have said before, I need to sell my past to finance my future.''
Haji-Ioannou owns 28 percent of easyJet through his holding company easyGroup. His other activities include easyRentacar, easyInternetCafe and plans for easyCinema low-cost movie theatres.
Easyjet also said its commercial director, operations director and airports director will also resign as directors to become directors of easyJet Airline Company Ltd, the company which holds the air operators certificate.
Colin Chandler will succeed Haji-Ioannou as chairman next year.
EasyJet shares slipped 2.7 percent to 509 pence in early London trading on Thursday.
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