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Spirit Airlines Is Getting a New Chief Executive Officer

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Fornaro’s short reign

Robert Fornaro, Spirit Airlines’ (SAVE) current CEO (chief executive officer), joined the airline in early 2016 when former CEO Ben Baldanza resigned suddenly. However, Fornaro was intended to be a temporary CEO until the carrier found a permanent replacement.

New CEO to take charge

Spirit Airlines has announced that Ted Christie, its current CFO (chief financial officer), will take over as CEO at the beginning of 2019. Prior to that, Christie will become the airline’s president and join its board of directors in January 2018.

Christie will also get a hefty pay raise to $700,000, which is 21% more than the current CEO’s salary. He will also receive a promotional grant of restricted stock worth $2.5 million and be eligible for a bonus equal to 100% of his salary in 2018 and 125% in 2019.

In 2016, Chiristie received $1.3 million in total compensation and a base salary of $352,750. That same year, Fornaro, the current CEO, received $7.2 million in total compensation and a base salary of $548,236.

Christie joined Spirit Airlines in 2012 as its senior vice president and CFO. In 2017, he became its executive vice president, which included additional responsibilities of marketing and pricing strategies. Before joining SAVE, Christie had management positions at Frontier Airlines and Pinnacle Airlines.

Investors can gain exposure to Spirit Airlines by investing in the SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN), which holds 2.6% of its portfolio in SAVE. It also holds 2.9% in Allegiant Travel (ALGT), 2.8% in American Airlines (AAL), and 2.7% in Southwest Airlines (LUV).

Next, we’ll see what Fornaro has been able to achieve in his short tenure.

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