Three Irish now lead global aviation groups as Ray Gammell appointed to top job at Etihad


Wicklow man Ray Gammell is to join an elite group – including IAG’s Dublin-born boss Willie Walsh and Malaysian Airlines’ Meath man Peter Bellew – as the Irish head of a global aviation group.

Mr Gammell, educated in UCD, has been appointed as interim Group CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, replacing James Hogan, current President and Group CEO, who will leave the company on July 1. Mr Gammell served as a captain in the Irish Army, and between 1990 and 1992 he trained members of the 67th Cadet class in Platoon Field Assessment, Fighting In Built Up Areas (FIBUA) and Infantry Light Support Weapons (ILSW).

Ray Gammell, Etihad

Ray Gammell, Etihad

Consistent with the company’s leadership transition plan, Gammell has assumed full management responsibilities. Mr Gammell is Etihad’s current Chief People & Performance Officer and has been a member of the Executive Leadership since joining the business in 2009.

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Ricky Thirion assumes full responsibilities of the Group Chief Financial Officer, with James Rigney also leaving the company on July 1. Thirion joined Etihad Airways in 2007 and is the current SVP Group Treasurer.

H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of the Etihad Aviation Group, commented: “Ray and Ricky are experienced leaders and have the complete confidence of the Board. Ray will now take full management responsibility for the Etihad Aviation Group, ensure a coordinated group approach, and continue to advance the strategic review that was initiated by the Board in 2016 to reposition the business for continued development in what we anticipate being a prolonged period of challenges for global aviation.”

 He added: “We have strengthened our group leadership with recent appointments and are now in the advanced stages of recruitment for a new Group CEO. The Board has been very pleased with the calibre of candidates, and we expect to make an announcement in the next few weeks.”

Ray Gammell joined Etihad in 2009 as a member of the Executive Leadership Team, developing and leading the company’s people strategy to create a performance driven culture, enabling the growth of the business and positioning Etihad as one of the most attractive employers globally and in EMEA.

Ricky Thirion, Etihad

Ricky Thirion, Etihad

Ray has been responsible for driving the award-winning Emiratisation strategy contributing to the total Emirati workforce of over 3,000 which is the largest nationality among the 154 nationalities at Etihad Aviation Group. He has over 20 years of leadership experience, and held executive positions for Intel in the US and Ireland and Royal Bank of Scotland.  He has been a Chief Officer at Etihad Airways for over eight years.

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 He is a chartered fellow at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and holds a Master’s Degree from University College Dublin.


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