Aer Lingus executive seeks High Court injunction to save job

Action follows an alleged dispute with other senior executives at the airline

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

A senior Aer Lingus executive has begun court action to prevent his removal from his position, following an alleged dispute with other senior executives at the airline.

The row is the latest signal of upheaval among the most senior leaders of Aer Lingus, which is also losing, or has recently lost, its chief executive, chief financial officer and head of human resources.

Micheal Gannon, director of product and brand development, will this week ask the High Court to give him an injunction preventing his removal. It is understood that the high-level management row is related to disagreements over operational matters and does not centre on allegations of misconduct by any individual.

 

High Court on Tuesday

Aer Lingus declined to comment over the weekend when asked questions about the dispute involving Mr Gannon, including the reasons for his attempted removal and the impact the case could have on the airline’s operations.

Aer Lingus has hired Arthur Cox, the top Dublin law firm, to defend it in the injunction proceedings, due before the High Court on Tuesday.

Aaron McKenna solicitors, the Meath firm representing Mr Gannon, did not return calls requesting comment from its client.

Mr Gannon, a former marketing manager of the airline, was appointed to his current role in 2012. He is responsible for defining the “customer experience”. Sources said his role includes helping to develop services and facilities offered to passengers on flights, as well as brand positioning.

 

Pressure from Ryanair

He has worked for the airline for several years, joining straight from college, and has held a number of senior marketing roles.

 

The dispute with branding and product development executives comes as Aer Lingus gears up to cope with increased pressure from main rival Ryanair, which is targeting its base of business travellers.

Ryanair has recently announced a raft of initiatives, such as mobile boarding passes and flexible fares, designed to attract corporate business.

Aer Lingus is experiencing serious upheaval among its management. Its chief executive, Christoph Mueller, announced this month that he plans to leave next year.

Michael Grealy, human resources chief, said he plans to leave next month, while chief financial officer, Andrew Macfarlane, is also due to go in September.

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