EasyJet today confirmed that Next chairman John Barton is to take over as chairman of the airline on May 1.

Barton takes over from Sir Mike Rake as the budget carrier’s non-executive chairman.

Barton is also chairman of international insurance underwriters Catlin Group.

He said: “EasyJet has clearly established itself as one of Europe’s leading airlines and one of Britain’s most successful and dynamic companies.

“My aim will be to ensure that the management team of easyJet can continue to deliver profitable growth and market leading returns.”

David Bennett, chairman of the airline’s nominations committee which led the recruitment process, said: “We are extremely pleased to have recruited a new chairman of John Barton’s calibre.

“John brings a wealth of plc board experience and valuable commercial expertise to easyJet.  He has chaired major quoted companies for over 16 years, has sound financial expertise and great understanding of high profile, competitive consumer markets from his time at Next.”

Sir Mike announced in January his plans to stand down after three years having steered it into the FTSE 100 last month.

He said: “It has been a great experience to chair easyJet for the last three years and most particularly to see the strong management team and board in place, implementing a strategy that is clearly working.

“John Barton will make an excellent chairman for the next stage of easyJet’s development.”