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Emirates’ Soon to be Retired President Sir Tim Clark Speaks About His Legacy and Retirement Plans

Emirates’ Soon to be Retired President Sir Tim Clark Speaks About His Legacy and Retirement Plans

a large airplane on a runway

Several days ago, we learned that Sir Tim Clark, the President of Emirates plans to step down from his role at the end of June 2020 after 35-years at the Dubai-based airline.  Emirates’ chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum broke the news on Tuesday but Sir Tim didn’t immediately comment on his retirement plans.

Finally, Clark has spoken about the news of his retirement, saying he is “closing a 35-year chapter of my professional life”.  In the internal memo, Sir Tim says he is “very proud” of everything that Emirates has achieved and describes the airline as the “best in the world”.

The President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark
The President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark

And while Sir Tim concedes that there have been “plenty of ups and downs” since the carrier was established back in 1985, the 70-year old British aviation executive says he will be leaving the leadership in very capable hands.  Along with careful planning, Sir Tim also admits to having made “several leaps of faith” over the years.

“Thankfully, most of our calculated bets have paid off,” he says of those risks without specifying what he might have changed if given another chance.  As one of the biggest proponents of the Airbus A380, no doubt Sir Tim will look at his decision to kit out the super-jumbo with an onboard bar and shower spa as a big success that has shaped many people’s view of the airline.

But after a lifetime in the aviation industry, what does Sir Tim plan to do now?  “I’ve often remarked that as an airline man my entire career, I’ve flown to many places but haven’t truly visited these destinations,” he complains.  “I hope to remedy that in my retirement with my wife Geraldine, our family and friends”.

The full staff note from Sir Tim is copied below:

“At the end of June 2020, I will close a 35-year chapter of my professional life.

Stepping down as President, I will leave Emirates in the capable hands of our leadership team who are all talented executives and long-serving colleagues who have worked closely with me to manage the airline.  I’d be honoured to off them my support as an advisor should the need arise.

I’m very proud of all that Emirates has achieved – all that we have collectively achieved – over the years.  Our airline is the best in the world.  It’s never been about any individual person, but about a company and a brand that we are building together.

Emirates is the airline that travellers want to fly with, and talented people want to work for.  It is an airline that is commercially-driven, innovative, ethical, and contributes positively to the economies and communities it works in.

Sir Tim Clark, shown left, reviews the new Business Class on Emirates' Boeing 777-200
Sir Tim Clark, shown left, reviews the new Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777-200

We’ve had plenty of ups and downs; from our days as a fledging start-up airline in 1985, to being the upstart industry disruptor over the next two decades, to our standing today as an esteemed global brand and an industry player with clout.

I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take Emirates this far with all of you.  This would not have been possible without the trust, and visionary leadership from our chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

I’ll be honest; we did a lot of careful planning, and we laboured over the fine details of every plan, product, service, and strategy ever implemented, but we also took several leaps of faith.  Thankfully, most of our calculated bets have paid off.  While always mindful of costs, we’ve never held back from investing in our people, products, technologies, and brand.  We’ve kept close to consumer trends and focussed on delivering high quality customer experiences.  With these foundations, Emirates is well-placed to tackle whatever the future may bring.

It has been an incredible journey, and I will always hold the memories and experiences close to my heart.

I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to His Highness – it has been an honour to work with him to build Emirates and contribute to Dubai’s aviation industry.  It has also been a privilege to work alongside world-class colleagues and a fantastic team and truly represent the best people from over 160 nations.  Without all of you, our plans would have remained dreams on the drawing board.

I believe Emirates’ brightest days are yet to come.  And I look forward to watching it prosper and to contributing to its success in a different capacity”.

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