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easyJet seeks new CIO, airline confirms

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Luton headquartered airline easyJet has confirmed it is currently searching for a new CIO following the departure of Chris Brocklesby to telecoms giant Vodafone, as the Horizon CIO Network reported last week.

A spokesperson for easyJet told the Horizon CIO Network that: “a recruitment search is already underway”.

In recent years the technology leadership role at the pioneering low cost airline easyJet has been the runway to a successful flight into transformational roles. Amongst the leading CIOs to have piloted technology at easyJet include CIOs Mike Sturrock, currently CIO with financial services business Domestic & General, CTO of Whitbread Andy Caddy, Brussels Airlines CIO Simon Lamkin and Colin Rees of Franchise Brands. Trevor Didcock, currently an advisor with Futurice led technology at easyJet before Chris Brocklesby. You can learn more about leading technology at easyJet on the CIO Podcast here.

Brocklesby spent over three and a half years at the IT helm of easyJet. Vodafone told the Horizon CIO Network that Brocklesby took up the UK CIO role at the Newbury headquartered telecoms firm that acquired Cable & Wireless on Monday, 7 January, 2019.

Brocklesby joined easyJet from a five year career with retailer Tesco where he held a number of senior technology roles including being CIO of Tesco.com and CIO of Tesco bank.

In September of 2018 easyJet announced the cancellation of a technology replacement programme and instead decided to “repurpose” existing systems.

EasyJet first took off as a business on 10 November 1995 and today, by passenger numbers, is the largest airline in Europe. Founder Stelios Haji Yi Arno had a spartan office with just one PC and a vision from day one that the business would be paperless. Throughout the history of easyJet its innovative attitude towards technology has enabled it to be a disruptive business.

From the outset easyJet refused to use the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) that connect airline routes and seats to travel operators. This decision is said to have saved 25% on each and every ticket and rocked the airline industry as the cost of flying plummeted and opened up European travel to a far wider customer base than had ever been seen before. Initially incumbent airlines treated easyJet with scorn and were convinced that the innovative business model would be unsustainable.

In 1997 easyJet became one of the first airlines to launch a website, initially as just an online brochure leading travellers to a telephone number to book via the call centre. The telephone number advertised on the website differed from the number advertised in the mainstream media. That simple decision informed easyJet of the demand for an online service. By April 1998 easyJet was selling airline tickets online. Today booking a flight online is the norm, in 1998 it was a significant innovation and web bookings grew by 26% in just a year and by 1999 over half of easyJet sales were made online and over 80% by 2001.

“The internet is a tool that becomes available to people once in a generation,” easyJet founder Stelios is famously quoted as saying. But as the Horizon podcast reveals from four CIOs, innovation and a focus on methods that ensured low administration costs has enabled easyJet to take off and land a dominant position in the European travel economy.

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About Mark Chillingworth 277 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.

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