Norwegian Air founder and chief exec Bjorn Kjos to step down after more than 25 years

Norwegian Air’s chief executive Bjorn Kjos has stepped down after more than 25 years.

Kjos founded the low-cost airline in the 1990s and has transformed it into Europe’s third-largest budget airline.

He is also one of its biggest shareholders, with a 17.2 per cent stake.

Bjorn Kjos founded low-cost airline Norwegian Air in the 1990s and has transformed it into Europe’s third-largest budget airline

Bjorn Kjos founded low-cost airline Norwegian Air in the 1990s and has transformed it into Europe’s third-largest budget airline

Finance boss Geir Karlsen will step in as interim chief executive as the airline hunts for a replacement.

The 72-year-old – a former fighter pilot who has written a spy thriller, The Murmansk Affair – said he is not sad about stepping down, and it will free up more time for sailing.

He joked that his resignation should have happened a long time ago, saying: ‘I’m way overdue.’ 

Kjos will become an adviser to chairman Niels Smedegaard and seek to build up partnerships with other firms.

He said: ‘I think I can do a better job for Norwegian taking up a role building up an alliance as we see it.’

Earlier this year British Airways walked away from a takeover after Norwegian rebuffed two offers.

But analyst Jacob Pedersen, at Sydbank, said: ‘A new chief executive will probably have a more flexible look at this.’

 

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