British Airways announced a major leadership shakeup as an effort for the airline carrier to stay productive beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday October 12, IAG (International Airline Group) has revealed that the current chairman and CEO of British Airways Alex Cruz will leave the airline after less than five years of experience in the role. The current CEO and chairman of Aer Lingus, Sean Doyle, would therefore become the interim CEO and chairman of British Airways. In the statement issued by AIG, the company that owns both British Airways and Aer Lingus, has revealed that Alex Crus would retain the position as the airline’s non-executive chairman.
IAG Keen to Navigate the Airline to Become Profitable
IAG will announce a permanent appointment in due course. Luis Gallego, IAG’s new CEO, announced today’s changes after one month of working in the job. The news comes less than one month after Willie Walsh reassigned as the chief executive officer of the International Airline Group, a move which was delayed by several months because of the coronavirus crisis.
Gallego, who took over for Willie Walsh, said:
“IAG has proved itself to be one of the world’s leading airline groups with a portfolio of successful companies.”
Gallego further stated:
“We’re navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and I’m confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position.”
Besides Cruz set to step down, other senior management changes are also taking place. The current chief corporate affairs officer at Aer Lingus, Donal Moriarty, is set to become the interim chief executive of the airline. Chief executive of Level airline company, Fernando Candela, is also set to join the Group’s management committee taking on a new role as Group Chief Transformation Officer.
Alex Cruz at British Airways as a Shrewd Business Solution Administrator
Cruz was the CEO of Vueling Spanish Airline company before he took over as the CEO of British airways, replacing Keith Williams.
Investors would remember Cruz would as being a tough operator who assisted in turning British Airways into a more profitable business before the coronavirus pandemic. However, critics and employees would remember him for difficult labor relations, staff reduction, and the massive IT failure that left more than 75,000 passengers stranded in 2017.
Cruz began his career with American airlines in London before he joined British Airways as the carrier’s CEO in 1998. Since he initiated a ruthless cost-cutting program, shutting down and outsourcing many airline’s IT programs, and creating enhanced efficiencies across the company with labor unions.
Last year, pilots downed their tools after a disagreement over pay issues in a long-running labor dispute with the Balpa union.
With the coronavirus’ hit this year, Cruz created plans to make up 12,000 job roles that were declared redundant and wanted to place older employees on more flexible, lower-paid contracts.
Last month, Cruz appeared before the Transport Select Committee PA and informed them that the maximum pay reduction for staff on “legacy” contracts would be 15%, much lower than the 70% cuts that GMB and Unite unions claimed.
Meanwhile, IAG would not say whether Cruz would be receiving a payoff, an indication that he was on the IAG plc board, though the company has no obligation to disclose such information.