Wizz Air announced that it reached an agreement with its current chief executive officer (CEO) József Váradi to extend his contract to serve as the chief executive of the low-cost carrier.
Váradi will continue his long-lasting career at Wizz Air that began in 2003 when he co-founded the airline. Váradi’s contract will be indefinite and his new service agreement is materially the same, according to the carrier’s press release.
“József is our founding CEO. He has been a major driving force in developing Wizz Air into a leading player in European aviation and one of the world’s true ultra-low-cost carriers,” commented chairman of Wizz Air Bill Franke. “While aviation is globally facing the most challenging period in its history, the Wizz Air business model, strategy and cost base positions it to be a long-term structural winner in the sector,” he added.
Since moving on from his previous role as CEO of the now-bankrupt MALEV Hungarian Airlines, Váradi has steered Wizz Air to grow into one of the punchier low-cost carriers in the European continent. The airline not only took on its low-cost rivals, such as easyJet or Ryanair, but also full-service carriers, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. For the past two years, Wizz Air has been aggressively expanding in Western Europe, including its newest bases across Italy and Norway, focused on domestic routes in the two countries as border restrictions are still present across Europe.
All in all, throughout the current crisis, Wizz Air so far has announced the opening of 13 new bases throughout the continent. In addition, the company opened its first non-European subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, namely Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.
However, the unprecedented growth has seemingly come at a price. Váradi’s harsh anti-union stance, including statements such as “if the unions try to catch us and to kill us, we simply close the base and move on.” The airline’s newest venture into the Norwegian market has also come under fire, even from government officials.
“It looks like Wizz Air’s boss doesn’t recognize or understand Norwegian work life,” stated the Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim.“His view of trade unions is, to put it mildly, very foreign.”