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Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates to Step Down in June 2020 After 35-Years at the Airline

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates to Step Down in June 2020 After 35-Years at the Airline

The President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark
Story Highlights
  • Sir Tim Clark to step down as President of Emirates in June 2020
  • Will remain as a special advisor to ensure a “smooth transition”
  • Front runners to replace Sir Tim include COO Adel Al Redha
  • Sir Tim was part of the leadership team from the very outset in 1985

In an internal memo, the Dubai-based airline Emirates has confirmed that its longtime President, Sir Tim Clark will step down in June 2020 after 35-years at the airline.  Sir Tim will, however, remain as an advisor to ensure a “smooth transition” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of the airline in the note sent to staffers this morning.

A major part of the Emirates story from the very outset, the airline credits Sir Tim as being instrumental in turning Emirates into the behemoth that it is today.  Having built a successful aviation career first at Caledonian Airways and then as head of flight planning at Gulf Air, Sir Tim joined Emirates as a member of the founding leadership team.

Photo Credit: Emirates

Initially taking on the role of head of airline planning, the now 70-year old aviation executive was appointed President of Emirates in 2003.  There has been much speculation of when Sir Tim might actually step down and a number of recent senior leadership appointments have been followed closely for clues as to who might be groomed to take his place.

However, sources close to the airline say homegrown candidates are most likely to be picked with front runners including Adel Al Redha, the chief operating officer at Emirates and Adnan Kazim, chief commercial officer at Emirates.  Also on the shortlist is Ghaith Al Ghaith, the chief executive of flydubai.

Sir Tim has lived in the Middle East for much of his adult life, having joined Bahrain-based Gulf Air in 1975.  At the time, Gulf Air was the dominant airline in the region, providing air services for countries throughout the region.  That, though, all changed in 1985 when the ruler of Dubai decided the emirate deserved its own airline – believing that the UAE was receiving the service it deserved.

In 2014, Clark was appointed as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to British prosperity and to the aviation industry – ever since he has been known as Sir Tim Clark.  He holds a degree in Economics from London University, UK, and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

During his time in Dubai, Sir Tim has been instrumental in creating the “hub and spoke” model that has turned Emirates into the largest international airline in the world.  In recent years, Sir Tim is most known for pushing his plan to put a shower spa and onboard lounge on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A380’s.

Paying tribute, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Sir Tim’s contributions to Emirates had been “invaluable” to the success of the airline.

“After more than 30 years of exemplary and distinguished service, Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, will retire at the end of June 2020.

Tim will remain an advisor to Emirates, and our strong and stable leadership team will ensure a smooth transition.
Having worked closely with Tim since the airline’s inception in 1985, I know first-hand of his deep passion for Emirates – the business, the people, the brand.  Through wars, economic recessions, disasters natural or man-made, and various industry upheavals, Tim has ably steered and grown Emirates to its standing today as the world’s largest international airline, and an eminent player in the global airline industry.  Not many airlines in the world have delivered an unbroken run of profitability for the past 31-years, and can proudly say that it was all achieved without any aeropolitcal protection or subsidy.

There is no question of Tim’s brilliance as an airline manager and planner, nor of his courage in taking forward bold ideas, and his dedication to quality and innovation.  These qualities have been fundamental to the airline’s success, as well as to the success of Dubai as a global aviation hub and destination.

Tim’s contributions to Emirates have been invaluable, and I’m pleased that he will stay on to support the leadership team in an advisory role.”

Sir Tim is yet to publicly speak about his retirement plans.

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