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Spirit Airlines names Gardner as new chairman

MIRAMAR, Fla. (AP) -- Spirit Airlines Inc. said Wednesday that it elected H. McIntyre Gardner as the new chairman of its board.

The company said William Franke has stepped down as chairman. Spirit said July 30 that Franke and director John Wilson would resign on Aug. 7. Their investment firm, Indigo Partners LLC, sold its stake in Spirit.

Gardner has been on Spirit's board since July 2010. He is the former president and chief operating officer of personal care products maker Helen of Troy Ltd., and was also an executive for Merrill Lynch.

Indigo partners owned 12.1 million shares of Spirit, which gave it a 17 percent stake and made it the largest shareholder in the company.