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Virgin Atlantic ex-CFO: Break down team silos to find new revenue

Julie Southern talks to Financial Director about her new chief commercial officer role

24 Jan 2011

By Melanie Stern

Julie Southern is CFO at Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic's chief commercial officer (CCO) and former chief financial officer (CFO) Julie Southern has told Financial Director that forcing different teams to work together will be critical to her mandate of finding new revenue for the airline in 2011, while the company gears up for a potential merger or sell-off.

In an interview with Financial Director to be published in the March 2011 issue, Southern said that among the most important elements of the CCO role – to which she was promoted last October after we predicted a move upwards was imminent – is to find new revenue and make sure departments including revenue management and pricing, sales and marketing, and human resources are given a structure through which they can work directly together to identify new revenue streams in a distinctly troubled sector.

Southern added that Virgin Atlantic's sales teams had not been armed with the right data to make informed decisions and that this was high on her agenda, adding that coming from the CFO role where most elements of the role are more structured, she was well-placed to approach the task.

Southern was Virgin Atlantic's CFO for ten years before her promotion to the CCO role, which was created for her. She told Financial Director that the role gives her the right level of authority to create a more integrated approach to managing the business, which is important at a time when rival airlines are reportedly in talks with her, Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgeway and chief operating officer Steve Griffiths about a joint alliance or even an outright acquisition of the business.

Read our FD Interview with Julie Southern in our March 2011 issue and online

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