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Tiger appoints a new chief

TIGER AIRWAYS has named a former senior executive at Virgin Blue as the chief executive of its troubled Australian operations, in a further sign it intends to tough it out in the local market.

TIGER AIRWAYS has named a former senior executive at Virgin Blue as the chief executive of its troubled Australian operations, in a further sign it intends to tough it out in the local market.

A month after Tiger's six-week forced grounding ended, Andrew David, formerly the chief operating officer at Virgin, has been appointed to replace Tony Davis, who was brought in from Singapore to sort out the airline's woes in Australia, including a failure to heed warnings from the air safety regulator.

The appointment of an experienced airline executive signals that Tiger's Singapore parent and its cornerstone shareholders, including Singapore Airlines, intend to maintain the budget airline's Australian operations.

Industry insiders described it as a "very good" appointment because Mr David has the operational experience needed to turn around Tiger's flagging fortunes, especially at the low-cost end of the market. "They wouldn't appoint him if they were just about to pull out," one said.

Some analysts have expected Tiger Airways to retreat to its main base in Singapore.

Mr David, who is originally from Britain, had been seen as a potential replacement for Virgin's co-founder, Brett Godfrey, but lost out to John Borghetti for the top job almost two years ago. He left Virgin late last year, one of a number of departures of senior managers who had worked under Mr Godfrey.

Before joining Virgin in 2005, Mr David held a number of senior management roles at Air New Zealand, including chief information officer and head of strategy and planning.

Mr David is on holiday in Europe and was not available for comment yesterday. He will begin on October 17, two weeks before Mr Davis will officially leave Tiger.

Mr Davis, who was previously the boss of Tiger's Singapore parent, is the third chief executive of the Australian business to leave in 18 months. His departure was announced two weeks ago.

Chin Yau Seng, the acting chief executive of Singapore-based Tiger Airways, said he was confident Mr David could steer the company's Australian operations. "He brings with him a wealth of experience in the airline business and a proven track record as a leader," he said.


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