Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Resigns Abruptly

Filed Under: Emirates

Something must be going on at Emirates management, or something…

Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer has resigned

It has been announced today that Emirates EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Thierry Antinori, has resigned with immediate effect. With the exception of CEOs I don’t usually cover changes in executive positions at airlines unless I find them particularly interesting… and this is one of those cases.

Who is Thierry Antinori?

For those of you not familiar with Antinori, he has been with Emirates since 2011, where he started as the EVP for sales, before being promoted to his current position in June 2013.

He has been in the airline industry for over 30 years, and previously had senior positions at both Air France and Lufthansa.

It’s worth noting that Antinori claimed that in 2016 he was offered the role of CEO of Air France-KLM, but chose to stay on at Emirates instead.

What could cause him to resign?

Some are suggesting that Antinori’s departure may have to do with Emirates’ recent financial results, where the airline saw a 69% drop in profits last year. I doubt that’s the case, though, because all things considered I’d say Emirates still did pretty well.

No reason has been given as to why Antinori suddenly resigned. I’m not sure if this is related to disagreements at the top at Emirates, or if this is related to him finding another opportunity elsewhere.

Tim Clark has been the president of Emirates since 2003, and there have long been rumors of him eventually retiring, given that he’ll be turning 70 this year. Antinori was considered a top contender for taking over that position. Then again, so was Christoph Mueller, who also resigned from Emirates earlier this year.

Antinori allegedly turned down a huge opportunity in 2016, so one has to wonder what exactly has happened in the past couple of years that is causing him to go from turning down one of the biggest jobs in the airline industry, to suddenly resigning at Emirates.

Bottom line

Maybe we’ll find out more soon, maybe we won’t. I imagine either Antinori got a big opportunity somewhere else, or he realized that he wasn’t in line to take over Clark’s job at Emirates, or there might be a bigger shakeup at Emirates management. Or perhaps it’s a combination of a couple of those factors.

What do you make of Antinori’s sudden departure from Emirates?

(Tip of the hat to Oleg)

  1. Would expect that the board/Clark decided on another candidate and will be announcing soon(either internal or external) and Antonori decided to pursue other opportunities as a result.

  2. What version of EK business class is that?

    I sometimes end up wondering what hotel/airline/city is used in the headline picture, it’d be nice if every article had some footnote on what the picture is.

  3. Boeing 777-200LR @Gabriel

    Flew it a couple of weeks ago and it was an improvement on the older B777 product…!

  4. He will be CEO of an airline sooner. His Emirates resumè should take him higher places.

  5. Both are different cases. Both got sacked by the owners. Muller got the sack because he was good in self promotion but a failure as a manager. That’s why he also had to leave Malaysian earlier. Antinori was supposedly ousted because others wanted his job.

    But, it is just a fairly tale that any expat will succeed Clark once he retires. Those times are over and there are highly qualified locals to take those jobs, I guess.

  6. I am not sure if being the CEO of AF/KLM is such an amazing job, considering all the issues you have to solve with the French unions while also maintaining a profit.

  7. We would expect higher management to resign. Now EK will have to face the costs of operating 140 380’s on routes that could be operated by 777’s

  8. They are purging all of the EVP+ expats and replacing with locals. This is just the beginning.

  9. Emirates will work like nothing has happened. The company is too big and the staff knows their role and positions in any situation. It’s another head roll that’s all

  10. According to the French press M Antinori,Emirates number 2 had turned down in 2016 the offer of running Air France but he did accept it and was a candidate in 2017 .
    So the fact that he was already looking here and there at other opportunities 2 years ago may show he wanted to do something else or live somewhere else with his family.
    (Go back to France ?)

  11. Lucky, this is the real world.
    Look for him at another airline soon.
    Besides, EK is loosing is fluff. And the oil is running dry. Who cares to watch their dead-heading pilots sitting in First Class seats.
    You will be a grandfather before all the 777’s are converted with the new seats.

  12. From the inside….Antinori pushed and his team currently being reviewed with more heads to roll.
    It is somewhat surprising being that there is a certain level of protectionism at EK. Bad policy and strategy is not necessarily an issue if you’re on the “correct” side of the top level management which is evident right across the business.
    Antinori however is responsible for decimating the global commercial structure, most recently the Australian structure along with the local DVP, neither of them having a clue of what is truly happening in their markets and have left the business in a wreck in the Australian market in particular.
    All that aside, the CCO is a toothless tiger. Revenue Optimsation (yield management) regrettably have total control over commercial strategy.
    The business will continue to suffer until that power shifts, which is highly unlikely in the immediate future.

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