Emirates airline President Tim Clark said on Friday he expects he will step down from his position by 2025.
“I personally don’t think I will be around in the next 10 years,” he told in an interview in London shortly after announcing a $9.2 billion engine order with Britain’s Rolls-Royce.
Clark joined the airline in 1985 as a member of the founding team and later become President in 2003. Clark has previously signaled that he is mulling retirement, however, Friday’s comments are believed to be the first time he has outlined a timeline for his retirement.
Asked about Emirates moving over to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) in 2023, Clark told reporters, “I’m probably not going to be there. He later told that he believes he will step down by 2025.
“Physically, it starts to get you down a bit,” he said regarding the constant jet setting around the world to open new routes, sign record aircraft orders and more recently, respond to allegations of state subsides.
“It’s a younger man’s game … It’s a very intense business,” he added.
But Clark dismissed any suggestion that his retirement would impact the direction and growth of the airline.
“It’s not really important. We all move on one way or the another and what’s important is at the airline there is a team of people coming behind me that are younger than me that are able to take it on,” he said.
He also said he hopes that whoever takes over from him as President would be hired from within the company but also said his replacement would ultimately be a decision for the airlines owner, the Dubai government.
“I believe that the owner will have plenty of scope there,” he said.
Despite his comments, Clark said he had not settled on a specific retirement date and that the airline does not have a succession plan for when he does step down.
Asked if he would stay on in any capacity after formally stepping down as president, Clark said, “I’m not prepared to say whether I would or wouldn’t.”
Clark, who leads Emirates airline alongside Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chief executive of the airline and Chairman of Emirates Group, is around 65, which is the official retirement age in the UAE. The career airline executive, who previously worked at Gulf Air, among other airlines, has helped lead Emirates to become the world’s largest airline by international seating capacity.