One way to measure the respect for a leader of a company is to look at what happens to the share price on news of their departure. A big fall in Jet2, with executive chairman Philip Meeson announcing he plans to step down from the board, is therefore revealing.
He led the takeover of a group of cargo airlines and then invested heavily to expand both the fleet and a ground transportation arm. Twenty years ago, the group expanded into the passenger airline industry, serving customers from the North of England. It subsequently sold the freight distribution operations and focused on Jet2, which today is one of the UK’s most popular choices for flights and package holidays.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “Meeson was seen as the captain of the company’s success, building up a greatly admired British business and showing that it was possible to disrupt the airline industry.
“Jet2 is no longer the start-up, snapping at rivals’ heels. It is seen as a trailblazer and gained massive respect from the nation when it was one of the few airlines to treat customers properly with refunds during the pandemic and not fob them off with vouchers when flights were cancelled.
“The key question now is when will Meeson start selling down his 18.3% stake in the business? He is the largest shareholder in Jet2 by a mile and it is natural to expect someone stepping down, and at his age (75), to want to crystallise some of the gains he’s made over the years.”