CargoForwarder Global was informed yesterday evening that the new owner of Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), Platinum Equity which has its headquarters in Beverly Hills, California - has appointed Craig Smyth to take over as CEO of WFS as of August 29th.
Takeover from French into British hands
It has been speculated after the sudden departure of Olivier Bijaoui as CEO a couple of months ago whether his successor would be chosen in-house or whether the American owner would look elsewhere.
It now seems that Platinum is heading in the direction of a completely new management structure.
Mr Bijaoui’s right hand man in Europe, Emilio Fernandez, is also said to have departed WFS and his position has been taken over by John Batten who joined WFS from Swissport a couple of years ago.
John is acting as interim CEO for Europe.
Craig Smyth brings over two decades of management experience
Not many had Craig Smyth on their radar when thinking of Olivier Bijaoui’s successor.
Craig was the key figure at Menzies Aviation, the Scottish-based newspaper distribution and airport services group for many years.
He joined the Menzies organization in 1993 and was a founding member of the Menzies Aviation company, which he ran as managing director from 2004 until his sudden resignation in August 2014.
There was some controversy as to Craig’s departure from Menzies.
It was in a year where the mother company issued a profit warning apparently due to losses within the aviation operations.
But, Menzies were not the only airport handling entity facing hard times in 2014.
A more plausible explanation is that Mr Smyth was disappointed at being passed over to be appointed to the then newly created position of chief executive for Menzies.
The company had previously done away with the CEO position, but decided in 2014 to reinstate a chief executive for what they termed as being necessary to help drive a wider strategy.
Menzies it seems looked for an external candidate and this is said to have led to Craig Smyth’s sudden resignation.
Hands full in the future!
Smyth is no stranger to airport handling and his past management experience will surely be of benefit to WFS.
The question arises however, as to whether not only the company structure will change, but also whether the HQ will shift from French to British territory.
Presently not, as Mr Smyth will be based in Paris and the largest part of the Worldwide Flight Services administration, operative and management structure is located there.
But, who knows!
WFS also gets a new CFO
It was also confirmed yesterday that Francois Mirallie has been appointed as Group Financial Officer for WFS. He will also start in his new position on August 29th and will be based in Paris.
Mr Mirallie recently held the position of Executive Vice President of Customs Sensors & technologies which is one of the largest suppliers of sensors and actuators worldwide.
Quite some changes in the WFS management structure.
John Mc Donagh