The chief executive officer of the Seychelles' national carrier, Air Seychelles, will leave the company on December 31, the airline confirmed on Wednesday.
The staff of the airline was informed of the resignation of Roy Kinnear through a note from the chair of the Air Seychelles board, Jean Weeling-Lee.
The Minister of Tourism, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said the resignation "has taken most of us by surprise."
Loustau-Lalanne added that Kinnear wanted to leave his position earlier but following discussions, "we have agreed that he will only leave now at the end of December as the decision came at a critical moment as Air Seychelles has some turbulent times ahead."
Kinnear, an Irishman, is an expert in revenue management and joined the national airline of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, in July 2015. He was previously working with Air Seychelles' strategic partner, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, where he held the position of Senior Vice President of Revenue Management and Planning since 2011.
In his note to the staff of Air Seychelles, Weeling-Lee said, "It is important that we stay focused on business priorities in the coming weeks and months ahead of us."
With regards to Kinnear's successor, the tourism minister said, "We look to Etihad Airways to very quickly propose a replacement CEO to the chairman of Air Seychelles."
Loustau-Lalanne said once the replacement is chosen, he "will have to double up with Mr. Kinnear for at least a month." This, he said, will ensure that there is proper handover and proper continuity.
Etihad is the strategic partner of Air Seychelles since 2012 with a 40 percent stake in the airline. That year, Etihad invested $45 million in the Seychelles national carrier, after the airline which until then was wholly owned by the Seychelles government, ran into financial difficulties.