EasyJet confirmed chief executive Carolyn McCall will stand down at the end of this year to become head of the UK commercial TV station ITV.

The carrier said: “The search for her successor has already commenced.”

In her first appearance since the announcement, McCall forecast an increase in full-year profits at easyJet – from the previously stated £375 million to a range of £380 million to £420 million.

However, she reported a likely fall of 2% in revenue per seat over the six months to September as a result of overcapacity across Europe.

EasyJet forecast the pressure on yields from this overcapacity would continue into the next financial year.

Referring to her decision to leave easyJet, McCall said: “This was a really difficult decision. I have had an amazing seven years at easyJet, I am so proud of what the airline and its people have achieved in that period.

“After seven years, the opportunity from ITV felt like the right one to take. It is a fantastic company in a dynamic and stimulating sector.

“EasyJet is a structural winner in a brilliant position, and I look forward to being a loyal customer in the years to come.

“I will always miss easyJet and most of all I will miss easyJet’s people whose ‘orange spirit helps them do their best to make travel easy and affordable for their customers every day.”

The airline’s third quarter trading update will be issued on Thursday.

EasyJet expects to report that an improving revenue per seat trend, as outlined in the half year results in May, has been supported by strong third quarter load factors, as well as the continued reduction in market capacity growth and a “significant benefit” from the move of Easter to April.

EasyJet chairman John Barton said: “Carolyn built and led the management team that has transformed easyJet’s performance in every respect since 2010.

“She put easyJet’s passengers and people at the heart of the business.

“Having first built a solid operational performance, she redefined the customer experience not just at easyJet but across short-haul Europe and has seen both the number and loyalty of easyJet’s passengers grow as a result.

“This has led to sustained and continuing financial success which has been shared with shareholders with a more than trebling of easyJet’s share price and the payment of £1.2 billion in dividends.

“She will leave easyJet well set for future success. Her successor will inherit a leadership team of strength and depth, engaged people and loyal passengers flying on Europe’s best network.

“I speak for absolutely everyone at easyJet in saying we will be sorry to see Carolyn leave and that we wish her well in her exciting new role.”

ITV chairman Peter Bazalgette said: “In a very impressive field of high calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders.

“I’m delighted we’ll be working together at ITV.”


‘Be realistic’ on Brexit, McCall tells government

EasyJet’s McCall ‘calm’ about impact of Brexit

McCall: Process underway to give EasyJet Holidays ‘top priority’