EasyJet has selected John Barton as its new non-executive director and chairman, replacing Mike Rake, effective May 1.

Barton, a chartered accountant, is currently chairman of two companies—clothing and homewares chain Next and insurance underwriters Catlin Group. He is a former chairman of insurance firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson and a former director of Cable and Wireless, WH Smith and Brit Insurance Holdings.   

“John brings a wealth of plc board experience and valuable commercial expertise to easyJet,” said easyJet nominations committee chairman David Bennett. “He has chaired major quoted companies for over 16 years, has sound financial expertise and great understanding of high profile, competitive consumer markets from his time at Next.”

Rake announced plans to step down Jan. 28 after three years in the position. During that time Rake survived several run-ins with easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, including a vote to have him ousted, vocal public criticism over alleged conflict of interests and disagreement over the airline’s fleet strategy.

Haji-Ioannou’s spokesman said the easyJet founder and Barton have not yet met. He declined to give any further comment on the appointment.

“My aim will be to ensure that the management team of easyJet can continue to deliver profitable growth and market-leading returns,” Barton said.