Spirit Airlines picks insider to become next CEO in 2019

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MIRAMAR, Fla. (AP) — Spirit Airlines Inc. says CEO Robert Fornaro will step down in January 2019 and be replaced by the company's current chief financial officer, Ted Christie.

Spirit announced Wednesday that Christie will be promoted to president and join the board on Jan. 1, then become CEO a year later.

Christie joined the budget airline in 2012 and gained more control over marketing and pricing this year.

Fornaro has led Spirit since January 2015. Before that he led AirTran Airways until it was bought by Southwest Airlines.

Through Tuesday, Spirit's profit is down 21 percent and its shares have sagged 25 percent this year as the Miramar, Florida-based carrier faces tougher price-matching competition from United and American.

In morning trading Wednesday, the shares were down 3 cents to $43.30.

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