Flybe non-executive chairman Jim French has today stood down from the carrier as part of an overhaul of senior management.

He is replaced by Simon Laffin, chairman of healthcare property firm Assura and chairman of the audit committee at property company Quintain Estates.

French said: “I joined Flybe in 1990 and have been privileged to lead the company as chief executive since 2001, adding the role of chairman in 2005.

“As part of an orderly transition in August this year we appointed Saad Hammad as chief executive, and today we announce the appointment of Simon Laffin as our new non-executive chairman.

“We are fortunate to have attracted two high calibre and experienced individuals to lead the group in the future.”

Hammad, previously with easyJet,  said: “Jim French deserves recognition as the architect of Flybe’s development into a leading regional airline.

“We have an exciting time ahead and I look forward to working closely with Simon whose extensive board experience of diverse businesses will be of immense importance to me and the executive team.”

Laffin added: “Flybe has many challenges ahead, but I believe that under the new management team the group will be developed into a leading regional aviation operator.”

Laffin was previously group finance and property director at Safeway  and has served as a non-executive director at Aegis Group, Mitchells & Butler, Northern Rock as well as chairman of Hozelock Group.