Air Serbia has named Etihad Airways executive Duncan Naysmith as interim CEO, following Dane Kondić’s decision to step down for personal reasons at the end of January.

On Dec. 25, Air Serbia announced that Naysmith would assume full management responsibility “effective immediately.” There will be a handover period until Kondić leaves at the end of January 2018.

Naysmith is chief financial and business transformation officer at Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which holds a 49% equity stake in Air Serbia.

With over 12 years of senior airline management experience, Naysmith will take on the role of interim CEO until Kondić’s permanent successor is found.

Air Serbia chairman Siniša Mali credited Kondić for delivering “significant achievements and milestones,” including product and fleet upgrades, significant network expansion and improved financial performance.

He added that Air Serbia is embarking on the next phase of its development and that Naysmith has “the complete confidence of the board” as the airline repositions itself.

Air Serbia, which launched in 2013, reported 3% passenger growth for the first six months of 2017 with an average load factor of 70.5%, while its cargo operations grew 54.6% against the comparable period.

“The new leadership will focus on a clear strategy to meet the challenges ahead and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the airline. We know we can rely on Duncan Naysmith’s proven skills and experience to lead Air Serbia during this time. Etihad is committed to providing its expertise and ongoing support to Air Serbia both as a major shareholder and partner,” Etihad Aviation Group chief strategy and planning officer and Air Serbia vice chairman Kevin Knight said.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com