Southend Airport owner's chief Brady quits to run Swissport

·1-min read

The boss of the company which owns Southend Airport is to end a rollercoaster tenure by quitting to run Swissport, the equally challenged airport baggage-handler.

Sky News has learnt that Warwick Brady, who joined what was then Stobart Group in 2017, is to step down in the coming months.

An announcement will be made to the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning, according to a person close to Swissport, which is expected to confirm Mr Brady's appointment as its next chief executive.

Mr Brady will leave the company now known as Esken just eight months after it tapped investors for £100m of new equity in an attempt to restore the fortunes of its aviation business.

The group owns Southend Airport, which was historically served by easyJet, Flybe and Ryanair, as well as a stake in its own Stobart Air franchise and charter specialist.

It also has a presence in the energy sector, processing wastewood on behalf of the construction industry.

Esken has plummeted in value during Mr Brady's tenure, having at one point been valued at £1bn.

On Monday, its shares closed at 38.45p, giving it a market capitalisation of less than £235m.

His four-and-a-half years at the helm included a sorry episode in which the company was engulfed in a bitter legal battle with its former chief, Andrew Tinkler.

Stobart Group also had an unhappy spell as a shareholder in Flybe, which collapsed into insolvency last spring.

Mr Brady's departure for Swissport will come weeks after the provider of ground handling services completed a major financial restructuring which left it owned by a syndicate of global investment funds.

A spokeswoman for Esken declined to comment.