People - Chris Walton

Chris Walton is a Special Advisor to Otus. Chris was formerly Finance Director and CFO of EasyJet. He has 17 years experience in the airline industry working in senior finance and commercial capacities for Qantas Airways, Air New Zealand, Australia Post and Australian Airlines.

At EasyJet, Chris was a key part of the team that grew a small private company into one of Europe’s largest low-cost airlines and one of its most successful online retailers. He has an in-depth understanding of online selling, yield management and the use of technology to reduce costs. In addition, the combination of his low-cost and full-service experience has given him a unique insight into the operation of consumer facing businesses with icon brands.

While FD at EasyJet, he was responsible for its successful IPO and the international corporate reconstruction and refinancing that preceded the IPO. Chris was fully involved in the ground-breaking contract for the purchase of 240 Airbus aircraft and the purchase of the airline Go-Fly. He designed and implemented a financing framework for $5 billion of new aircraft. In 2005, Chris was awarded a personal “Lifetime Achievement Award” in aviation by AirFinance Journal. This followed his finance team’s receipt of Air Finance Journal’s European Corporate Finance Deal of the Year award.

At Qantas Airways, Chris was responsible for the Group’s financial and strategic planning and, latterly, for identifying, negotiating and overseeing synergistic activities between Qantas and British Airways.

During seven years at Australian Airlines, Chris reviewed and restructured unprofitable businesses, including regional airlines, retail travel agents, resorts, catering and computer reservations. He negotiated the purchase of the Westpac retail travel agency network, and joint ventures for computer reservations, air freight and catering businesses. He co-ordinated the privatisation trade-sale process for the company, including negotiations with credit rating and Government bodies.

At Air New Zealand, Chris was Finance Manager of the International Airline Business, with responsibilities on five continents. In this role, he also acted from time to time as the Director of Sales and Marketing.

As a senior finance executive in Australia Post, Chris obtained its initial credit rating and was responsible for submissions to government regulators. Earlier roles included corporate planning for BP and working as a legislative assistant in the Australian Senate.

Current non-executive board roles include Chairman Elect of Goldenport Holdings and Audit Chairman of Rockhopper Exploration.

Chris was a member of the Regional Economic Advisory Panel (South East & Anglia) of the Bank of England from 2002 to 2005. Chris has an MBA and a BA. He holds a private pilot’s licence and flies aerobatics. His military experience has been in Special Action Forces in the Australian Army Reserve. Chris is resident in London.


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