Andrew Tinkler, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Stobart Group, which is part of the consortium behind Connect Airways and owns troubled carrier flybe. (BE, Exeter), has sold all of his shares in the group, according to a stock exchange filing.

Tinkler was the group's fifth-largest shareholder, with a 5% stake valued at around GBP20 million (USD26 million). The ex-CEO was sacked from Stobart Group, which also owns UK airport Carlisle, two years ago in a heated boardroom battle which ended up in the UK's High Court. The case was won by the group in February 2019. Following an unsuccessful appeal, Tinkler was forced to pay 55% of Stobart Group's legal costs, reckoned to be around GBP1 million (USD1.3 million).

The former CEO was dismissed after he tried to oust then-chairman Iain Ferguson and because he acted in breach of his fiduciary duties. The presiding judge deemed that his sacking by the group was lawful as well as its resolution to re-elect Ferguson as Chairman.

The Connect Airways consortium, which also includes Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) and Cyrus Capital Partners, bought flybe. last year for GBP2.2 million (USD2.9 million) as it ultimately became the only option left for shareholders to approve. This deal came despite Tinkler attempting to take control of the ailing regional carrier last year, first as an individual, then leading a group of investors. He acquired a 12.23% stake in flybe., which Tinkler claimed was an investment decision and nothing to do with his ongoing battle with the group.

The owners of flybe. sealed a deal with the UK government on January 15, wherein the investors will inject more cash into the struggling regional carrier in return for tax deferral and a possible state loan. Other airlines, including IAG International Airlines Group, Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) and easyJet (U2, London Luton) have all voiced their objections to the government-assisted reprieve of flybe.