The top roles rumoured for former Virgin boss

 

Former Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah has been linked to several high-powered executive positions, including at Australia Post, Channel 9 and even as a consultant for the 2032 Olympics should Brisbane be awarded the games.

As Mr Scurrah on Wednesday hands over to former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka, he has revealed he believes Virgin - which was laden with debt when he took over in March 2019 - would have survived if the pandemic had not wiped out $6bn in revenue virtually overnight.

His name is now being whispered in high-powered circles as a potential chief executive for Australia Post, or chief executive of Channel 9, a position vacated this week by Hugh Marks.

There's even speculation the Queensland government has sounded out the 52-year-old as a consultant for the 2032 Olympics, should Brisbane be awarded the games.

Mr Scurrah told The Courier-Mail he needed time to unwind and unpack the toughest nine months of his working life after Virgin Australia was forced into administration because of the pandemic.

Former Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah poses for photos at his home in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Former Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah poses for photos at his home in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

It resulted in budget airline Tigerair collapsing, some 4500 staff across both Tigerair and Virgin Australia being made redundant, and Bain Capital becoming the new owners and installing a new chief executive.

"This will be one of those events that is pinned to my name and reputation forever and I'm really proud of the way we did it," he said.

"I haven't thrown my hat in the ring for anything, but I've been sounded out for a number of roles … I will not say which ones.

"But I haven't sent in any expression of interest for anything."

He said he made a promise to himself not to say yes to anything before Christmas, but he would be "surprised if I am gainfully employed within the next six months".

"I'm still consulting to Bain until the end of January, to assist with the transition and set it up for success and I think I owe it to myself to have an extended break and take the opportunity," he said.

Former Jetstar CEO Jane Hrdlicka is set to take over at Virgin.
Former Jetstar CEO Jane Hrdlicka is set to take over at Virgin.

Mr Scurrah told the Curveball podcast, released on Tuesday, that he "fully understands" Bain Capital's decision to replace him in the top job.

But he would have "relished the challenge" of leading the company out of administration, he said.

He also revealed he believed Virgin would have survived if the pandemic had not wiped out $6bn in revenue - despite the company already being laden with debt when he took over in March 2019.

"Despite some commentary you'll get out there, we didn't trade our way into administration," he said.

"We weren't as healthy as we needed to be, but if you use a health analogy, we weren't on our way to hospital and we certainly weren't on our way to intensive care, but we'd probably have to go on the Biggest Loser."

 

Originally published as The top roles rumoured for former Virgin boss



KFC Team of the Week - CRCA #7

Premium Content KFC Team of the Week - CRCA #7

VOTE NOW: Choose the Player of the Week from the best individual performances from...

UPDATE: Lucky escape for all involved in car, bus crash

Premium Content UPDATE: Lucky escape for all involved in car, bus crash

Emergency services responded to crash between bus and a car

Warning after surprise backyard kangaroo attack

Premium Content Warning after surprise backyard kangaroo attack

Woman surprised by kangaroo in her backyard advises caution following an...