PAUL Scurrah will step down from his position as chief executive of Pacific National at year’s end.

The Australian this afternoon reported Mr Scurrah had told the PN board upon his appointment in 2021 that he didn’t see himself as the long-term CEO. His departure has been confirmed by board chair Catherine Livingstone, with a global search to find a replacement getting underway.

Mr Scurrah told The Australian he plans to stay on until the end of the year to give the company time to find a replacement and said it was his desire to remain in transport and logistics “in some capacity”.

This has led to immediate speculation he may return to once again lead Virgin Australia, at which he was replaced as CEO when the airline was purchased by Bain Capital. His successor, Jayne Hrdlicka, has announced her own departure but Mr Scurrah has ruled out revisiting history.

Prior to the Virgin appointment Mr Scurrah was head of DP World Australia and previously held senior positions with Queensland Rail, Ansett, AWH and Australia Post.

Thanks to floods and industrial action PN had a disappointing 2023 FY, recording a loss of $59 million and a fall in statutory earnings from $697 million to $619 million, but in H1 FY 2024 it has seen 7.7% improvement in earnings to $324.1 million, partly attributed to the retention of major accounts such as Linfox and Austrans on new 10-year deals.

“I will leave (Pacific National) with the most incredible high-quality team that’s joined to do this job, with a lot of momentum on our safety program, the highest level customer satisfaction, significant improvement in our operating performance and we’re now really starting to commercialise the business and we’re seeing a strong trajectory and momentum,” Mr Scurrah told The Australian.

In early April the Australian Financial Review reported that 50% of PN was being offered for sale by shareholder Global Infrastructure Partners. The other 50% of the company is held by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, China’s CIC, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp.