Godfrey flies the coup

VIRGIN Blue CEO Brett Godfrey will retire next year from the airline he launched 10 years ago, saying it’s time to give someone else a go.

Godfrey says he will head the search for a new successor and agreed to stay until the end of 2010, as the company embarks on a fully underwritten equity raising of $231.4 million.

The equity raising was divided between an institutional component with full entitlement taken up by Richard Branson’ Virgin Group, as well as a retail entitlement offer.

The institutional component of $112 million and a $21 million institutional placement were successfully completed with 105.2 million shares sold, but the retail entitlement offer is open until August 28.

Godfrey says he is delighted by the strong support received by shareholders for the offering, as well as a number of new institutional investors.

“The proceeds of this raising will significantly strengthen Virgin Blue’s capital position, and improve liquidity and financial flexibility which we believe is prudent in the light of challenging conditions facing the airline industry,” says Godfrey.

Virgin’s new trans-Pacific airline V Australia has struggled since it launched early this year, but early last month the company signed a joint venture with Delta Airlines.

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