Two Queenslanders are among a raft of well-known airline executives working to keep Virgin Australia in Aussie hands by stopping its sale to an American.
Two Queenslanders are among a raft of well-known airline executives working to keep Virgin Australia in Aussie hands by stopping its sale to an American.

Former Virgin Blue bosses could thwart airline sale

Five former Virgin Blue executives have been unmasked as the specialist advisors working to thwart the sale of the airline to an American investment giant.

The former executives, led by Queenslander Bruce Highfield and Tasmanian Rob Sherrard - who founded the airline with Brett Godfrey - are working to support bondholders' bid to stop the sale of Virgin to owner-elect Bain Capital.

The team of five former Virgin Blue executives includes Mr Sherrard, its co-founder, founding executive Mr Highfield, CFO Manny Gill, network operations manager Andrew Lillyman and public affairs manager Heather Jeffery.

Bondholders Broad Peak Investment Advisors and Tor Investments filed documents in the Federal Court on Tuesday seeking orders to access information and stakeholders administrator Deloitte has denied.

Deloitte has previously argued it has entered into a biding sale with Bain Capital and no other bids can be considered.

Bondholders want to finalise an alternative proposal to take ownership of the carrier and put it to employees and creditors in time for voting at the second meeting of Virgin creditors on September 4.

"In simple terms, we are proud investors and supporters of Virgin Australia and its people," Mr Sherrard said.

"We believe in the airline, firmly support the vision of management and are confident that Virgin can return to being a successful airline."

Virgin Blue founders Rob Sherrard and Brett Godfrey. Mr Sherrard is assisting bondholders lodge a proposal to creditors in the sale of the airline.
Virgin Blue founders Rob Sherrard and Brett Godfrey. Mr Sherrard is assisting bondholders lodge a proposal to creditors in the sale of the airline.

 

The Bondholders include almost to 6000 'Mum and Dad' retail noteholders and more than 30 institutions who have collectively invested $2 billion in Virgin Australia over the past six years.

Under the bondholders' plan Virgin Australia would remain a majority Australian-owned public company, listed on the ASX.

"We firmly believe our founders and bondholders proposal will result in the best return for all creditors and employees," Mr Sherrard said.

"We also want to be very clear that we don't want to run the airline.

"That is the job of the existing management team.

"We are focused on rebuilding our airline through a solid recapitalisation proposal."

Bondholders say they are "very keen" to speak with workers and engage with unions on the details of their proposal.

Originally published as Former Virgin Blue bosses who could thwart airline sale



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