Kevin May, editor of Travel Weekly’s sister publication, profiles XL Leisure Group chief executive Phil Wyatt.

Phil Wyatt, chief executive of XL Leisure Group – the man who said: “Ultimately, I blame myself”.

Phil Wyatt understandably looked ashen-faced – “crestfallen”, as one commentator put it – at a press conference at Gatwick on the morning XL Leisure Group announced the suspension of trading and the appointment of administrators.

The former deputy chairman of the company had only been in the position for three months following the shock resignation of chief executive Peter Owen on the eve of an appearance at the Institute of Travel and Tourism.

Unfortunately, Wyatt’s most recent time at the helm of the business was one of panic as executives desperately tried to save the company and its myriad of high profile tour operating brands and, of course, the airline.

Wyatt, however, is no stranger to changes at the top of the travel industry. He famously led the management buy-out from Excel Airways Group, as it was formerly known, to create the XL Leisure Group in 2006.

The former Goldcrest Aviation commercial director knows the Excel/XL business inside out, having been brought in by ex-colleague Steve Tomlinson in April 2000 as a consultant on launch of the company.

Related links

  • XL Leisure Group failure: updates and analysis