LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - EasyJet said on Thursday Chief Financial Officer Kenton Jarvis would take over as CEO early next year after Johan Lundgren leaves the British low-cost budget airline.

The surprise move rattled the market, sending shares down over 4%, with the company vowing that the next months would be spent ensuring a smooth handover.

Here's what we know about Jarvis:


Jarvis, 56, grew up in Essex, southeast England, and graduated from Manchester University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 1988. He then joined PwC as an accountant, where he stayed until 1992, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He has two daughters and enjoys golfing and travel in his spare time, according to an easyJet spokesperson.


Jarvis worked for TUI, Europe's largest travel operator, for more than 17 years, starting in 2003 in a finance director role, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He then held various positions, eventually becoming CFO of tourism and CEO of the aviation division.

That experience running a combined travel and airline business has served Jarvis and current CEO Lundgren, another TUI alumni, well as they developed easyJet's profitable holidays business.

Jarvis joined easyJet in 2021 and played a key role in crafting its current strategy.

The company credited him in helping to secure additional capacity - something airlines across the world have struggled to do as manufacturing challenges and delivery delays hamper plane producers.

"Kenton played a principal role in negotiating the most recent aircraft order, securing extremely competitive pricing and certainty in aircraft supply from 2028 onwards," easyJet said in a statement.


Jarvis told reporters he would continue to execute easyJet's current strategy, including a goal to achieve 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in pretax profit and continue expanding holiday revenue.

Analysts said his appointment would provide continuity, adding it was unconventional for a CFO to be promoted to CEO at an airline, particularly in Europe.

($1 = 0.7908 pounds) (Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Josephine Mason and Mark Potter)