Board Directors

William FrankeChairmanNon-Independent
József VáradiExecutive Director/ CEONon-Independent
Guido Demuynck Non-Executive DirectorIndependent
Simon Duffy Non-Executive DirectorIndependent
Susan Hooper Non-Executive DirectorIndependent
Stephen L. Johnson Non-Executive DirectorNon-Independent
John McMahonNon-Executive DirectorSenior Independent
Thierry de Preux Non-Executive DirectorIndependent
John R. Wilson Non-Executive DirectorNon-Independent

Board Structure

The Corporate Governance Code recommends that at least half the members (excluding the chairman) of the board of directors of a company with a premium listing should be non-executive directors, independent in character and judgment and free from relationships or circumstances which are likely to affect, or could appear to affect, their judgment.

The Corporate Governance Code recommends that the board should appoint one of its independent non-executive directors as senior independent director. The senior independent director should be available to shareholders if they have concerns that contact through the normal channels of the chairman, chief executive officer or chief operations officer has failed to resolve or where such contact is inappropriate. John McMahon is the senior independent director of the Board and will continue in this role following Admission.

The Board consists of one Executive Director and seven Non-Executive Directors. The Company regards this as an appropriate board structure. Other than William A. Franke, John R. Wilson and Stephen L. Johnson, the Company regards all of its Non-Executive Directors as independent Non-Executive Directors within the meaning of “independent” as defined in the Corporate Governance Code and free from any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgment. Mr McMahon and Mr de Preux were nominated as Directors pursuant to investor nomination rights arising under the Company’s pre-Admission noteholder and shareholder structure and such nomination rights will terminate with effect from Admission. Neither of these Directors currently has, or has at any time in the past had, any shareholding or executive or non-executive role with the noteholder or shareholder that nominated them for appointment to the Board and the Company is therefore of the view that these Directors will be independent for the purposes of the Corporate Governance Code following Admission. Accordingly, on Admission, the Company will comply with the requirement of the Corporate Governance Code that at least half of the board (excluding the chairman) of a company with a premium listing should comprise independent non-executive directors.

Director Biographies

William A. Franke, Chairman

Mr Franke has been Chairman of Wizz Air since 2004. Mr Franke is the founder and Managing Partner of Indigo, a private equity fund focused in air transportation, and Chairman of Frontier Airlines, Inc. From 1998 to 2001, Mr Franke was a Managing Partner of Newbridge Latin America, a private equity fund focused on Latin America. Mr Franke was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of America West Airlines from 1993 to 2001 and currently serves on the board of directors of Concesionaira Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A. de C.V., a Mexican airline which does business as Volaris. He served as Chairman of Spirit Airlines Inc., a United States airline, from July 2006 to August 2013 and Tiger Aviation Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-based airline, from 2004 to 2009, and held directorships in Alpargatas S.A.I.C, an Argentina-based footwear and textiles manufacturer, from 1996 to 2007, and Phelps Dodge Corporation, a mining company, where he served as the lead outside director for several years, from 1980 to 2007. He has in the past served on a number of publicly listed company boards of directors including ON Semiconductor, Valley National Corporation, Southwest Forest Industries and the Circle K Corporation. Mr Franke has both undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University and an honorary PhD. from Northern Arizona University.

József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Váradi was one of the founders of Wizz Air in 2003. Mr Váradi worked at Procter & Gamble for ten years between 1991 and 2001, and became Sales Director for Global Customers where he was responsible for major clients throughout 11 EU countries. He then joined Malév Hungarian Airlines, the Hungarian state airline, as Chief Commercial Officer in 2001, before serving as its Chief Executive Officer from 2001 to 2003. He has also held board memberships with companies such as Lufthansa Technik Budapest (Supervisory Board, 2001-2003) and Mandala Airlines (Board of Commissioners, 2007-2011). In 2007, Mr Váradi won the Ernst & Young Hungary “Brave Innovator” award. Mr Váradi holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and a Master’s Degree in law from the University of London.

Guido Demuynck, Non-Executive Director

Mr Demuynck joined the Board in February 2014. Mr Demuynck spent more than 25 years with Koninklijke Philips N.V., holding various roles including General Manager, Portable Audio Business Line, General Manager, Audio Business Group and Marantz and Chief Executive, Consumer Electronics (as a member of the group management committee of Royal Philips Electronics and Senior Vice President). He then held the positions of Board Member, responsible for Mobile Division, at KPN (Koninklijke) N.V. and Chief Executive of Kroymans Corporation B.V. and Liquavista B.V. Mr Demuynck is currently a member of the supervisory board and chairman of the remuneration committee of TomTom N.V., a member of the board of directors and of the audit committee of Belgacom N.V., a member of the supervisory board of each of Teleplan International N.V., Divitel Holding B.V. and Aito B.V. and chairman of the audit committee of Belgacom SA. Mr Demuynck has a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics (magna cum laude) from the University of Antwerp and a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Distribution (magna cum laude) from the University of Gent.

Simon Duffy, Non-Executive Director

Mr Duffy joined the Board in January 2014. Mr Duffy started his career at NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd and has held positions at Shell International Petroleum Co, Bain & Co, Consolidated Gold Fields Plc, Guinness Plc, Thorn EMI Plc (where he held the position of Deputy Chairman and Group Finance Director), World Online International B.V. (where he held the position of Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive), End2End AS (where he held the position of Chief Executive), Orange SA (where he held the position of Chief Financial Officer), ntl: Telewest Inc. (where he held the position of Executive Vice Chairman) and Tradus Plc (where he held the position of Executive Chairman). Mr Duffy has extensive London Stock Exchange non-executive director experience. He has sat on the board of, amongst others, Gartmore Plc, HMV Group Plc, GWR Group Plc and Imperial Tobacco Plc. He is currently chairman of You View Ltd., which is a joint venture between British Telecom, TalkTalk and all the leading broadcasters in the United Kingdom and chairman of M Blox Inc. He is a non-executive director of Oger Telecom, a Middle East telecommunications company, and of Modern Times Group AB, one of Europe’s largest broadcasting companies that is listed on the Stockholm Exchange, where he is chairman of the audit committee. Mr Duffy has a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Susan Hooper, Non-Executive Director

Susan Hooper was named to the Board of Directors as a non-executive director in 2016 and serves on Wizz Air's Audit and Remuneration committees. A UK national, Ms Hooper was managing director of British Gas Services, leading the service and repair, central heating installations, electrical services, and Dyno-Rod business units until November 2014. She joined British Gas from the Acromas Group where she was chief executive of the travel division, responsible for Saga holidays and hotels, Saga cruises, Spirit of Adventure cruises, Titan Travel and the travel division of the AA. Previously, Ms Hooper held senior roles at Royal Caribbean International, Avis Europe, PepsiCo International, McKinsey & Co, and Saatchi & Saatchi. During her time with PepsiCo International, Ms Hooper spent over five years based in Central and Eastern European countries. She is currently a non-executive director of Affinity Water Ltd. and The Rank Group plc, as well as being an advisory board member of LUISS Business School in Rome. From 2011 to 2014 she was a non-executive director of Whitbread PLC and has held several other non-executive directorships, including at First Choice plc, Transcom SA, Royal and Sun Alliance Group plc and Courtaulds Textiles Plc.

Stephen L. Johnson, Non-Executive Director

Mr Johnson joined the Board in 2004, left the Board in 2009 and was re-appointed as a Non-Executive Director in 2011. Mr Johnson is Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs for American Airlines Group Inc. and its principal subsidiary, American Airlines, Inc. Previously, Mr Johnson served as Executive Vice President, Corporate and Government Affairs for US Airways. Prior to joining US Airways in 2009, Mr Johnson was a partner at Indigo from 2003 to 2009. Between 1995 and 2003, Mr Johnson held a variety of positions with America West Airlines, Inc. prior to its merger with US Airways, including Executive Vice President, Corporate. Prior to joining America West, Mr Johnson served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at GPA Group plc, an aircraft leasing company, and as an attorney at Seattle-based law firm Bogle & Gates where he specialised in corporate and aircraft finance and taxation. Mr Johnson earned his Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from California State University, Sacramento.

John McMahon, Non-Executive Director

Mr McMahon has been a member of the Board since 2012. He has more than 25 years of experience in commercial aviation. He joined Aer Lingus in 1986, moved to GPA Group plc in 1990 and transferred to GECAS upon its formation in 1993. Later, he held senior management positions at debis AirFinance B.V. and Lloyds TSB Bank plc. In 2006, he led the initial public offering and New York Stock Exchange listing of Genesis Lease Limited, an aircraft leasing company, where he served as Chairman and CEO until its merger with AerCap Holdings N.V. in 2010. Since then, he has served as a consultant, director and lecturer. His non-executive directorships include Airspeed Limited, BNP Paribas Ireland, Investec Aircraft Syndicate Limited, Turbine Engine Securitization Limited and Waypoint Leasing Limited. Mr McMahon holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway and post-graduate diplomas in Accounting and Finance (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Computer Modelling & Simulation (Trinity College Dublin). He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors.

Thierry De Preux, Non-Executive Director

Mr de Preux was a founding shareholder of Wizz Air in 2003 and joined the Board in 2012. A qualified chemical engineer, Mr de Preux completed his Master of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and went on to become a General Manager at the Nestlé Group. He subsequently spent 17 years as the head of the Swiss division of Korn/Ferry International, where he specialised in board consulting and recruitment. In 2008, Mr de Preux founded the Swiss Board Members Forum, an association including board members of the twenty largest companies on the Swiss Market Index.

John R. Wilson, Non-Executive Director

Mr Wilson has been a member of the Board since 2005 and a Principal of Indigo since 2004. Mr Wilson is a member of the Board of Directors of Frontier Airlines, Inc., together with its holding companies, Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. and Falcon Acquisition Group, Inc. Prior to that he served at America West Airlines from 1997 to 2004 as the Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, Vice President of Operations Finance and other senior finance positions. From 1991 to 1997 he was employed by Northwest Airlines where he last served as Director of Finance for Asian operations based in Tokyo, Japan. Mr Wilson served on the board of Spirit Airlines Inc. from 2009 to August 2013 and served on the board of Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A.P.I. de C.V. from July 2010 to April 2012. Mr Wilson has a Master of Business Administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree in Finance from Texas Tech University.