Etihad Aviation Group named Antonoaldo Neves, the former head of Portugal’s flag carrier, as chief executive officer to succeed Tony Douglas, who is leaving after running the Abu Dhabi airline for the past four years.
Neves, 47, was CEO of state-owned airline TAP until 2020. Douglas is stepping down to pursue an opportunity elsewhere, the carrier said.
Bloomberg News reported in September that Etihad had hired recruitment firms to explore possible interest from current and former airline executives to run the carrier, amid concern that Douglas may leave to head up an airline being launched by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund.
“As we’re entering our next phase of sustainable growth, we are confident that Antonoaldo will build on Tony’s legacy, Etihad Chairman Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa” said in the statement.
Neves’s appointment is the first move after Abu Dhabi said it would transfer ownership of the carrier to sovereign wealth fund ADQ, in an effort to better integrate a broad range of aviation activities and boost the sheikdom’s status as a transport hub.
Prior to Neves’s role at TAP, he was president of Brazil’s Azul Airlines which he helped take public.