* Jeff McDowall to serve as interim CEO from Sept. 26
* New CEO may not start until Q1 2020 - incoming chairman
* Departing CEO Christopher Luxon considering political career (Recasts, adds comments from incoming chairman)
SINGAPORE, August 21 (Reuters) - Air New Zealand said on Wednesday Chief Financial Officer Jeff McDowall will be its acting chief executive from Sept. 26 as it continues a global search to replace outgoing boss Christopher Luxon.
Incoming chairman Therese Walsh said given the high calibre of the candidates under consideration, it was possible that the new CEO would not start until the first quarter of calendar year 2020.
“The strength of our brand and our people has attracted strong interest from candidates within New Zealand and overseas,” she said in a statement.
Air New Zealand announced in June that Luxon would step down in September after seven years in the role. He is considering a career in politics among his options.
Luxon was an executive at consumer goods company Unilever before joining Air New Zealand, while other past leaders of the carrier have come from the banking industry.
The airline is due to report its full-year financial results on Thursday.
In May, it had forecast it would report full-year earnings before taxation of more than NZ$340 million ($217.91 million), lower than its initial expectations, due to headwinds from increased jet fuel prices. ($1 = 1.5603 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore; Additional reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)