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Virgin Australia CEO negotiating terms of exit with new owner Bain -sources

SYDNEY, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd Chief Executive Paul Scurrah is negotiating the terms of his exit with the airline’s new owner Bain Capital, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Local media reports said Scurrah had clashed with Bain about the strategy for Australia’s second-biggest airline and was trying to steer it away from becoming a budget carrier.

On Wednesday, a major employee union said it had suspended bargaining talks with the Brisbane-based airline, pending clarification on Scurrah’s status.

The people, who were not authorised to speak with media, told Reuters that Scurrah’s exit was expected to be announced within days.

Bain still plans to keep Virgin’s lounges and business-class offering in contrast to reports that it would become a budget carrier, though not as premium a level as that desired by Scurrah, one of the people said.

The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday evening first reported the exit talks.

Virgin and Bain declined to comment.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach Scurrah for comment. He said on Wednesday he was not in the habit of commenting on speculation when asked about rumours he would be replaced, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Australian Services Union Assistant National Secretary Emeline Gaske said in a statement she was deeply concerned with the reports Bain was reneging on its commitment to keep Virgin a full-service airline supporting a workforce of 6,000.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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