The chairman and CEO of British Airways, Alex Cruz, has stepped into a non-executive position in the 100-year-old air transport company. According to the International Airline Group (IAG), the parent company of the British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, Cruz stepped down when the airline industry is facing critical problems created by the coronavirus pandemic, but a new team of executive leaders has been chosen from within the IAG empire to fill the void created in British Airways, CNBC reports.
“I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernize the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary,” said IAG Chief Executive Luis Gallego. “Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.”
Gallego said he hoped that the “internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position” given that top leader from other divisions of the organization were moved from one portfolio to the other. As it stands, the following is the new leadership positions at IAG following the stepping down of Cruz:
- IAG CEO Willie Walsh recently retired and was replaced by Iberia CEO Luis Gallego
- Aer Lingus’ CEO Sean Doyle is taking over as British Airways’ CEO
- Aer Lingus’ Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Donal Moriarty is taking over as interim Aer Lingus CEO, with a permanent replacement to be announced soon
- LEVEL CEO Fernando Candela will now be appointed IAG’s Chief Transformation Officer, which makes me wonder what’s ahead for the company
Cruz began his career in American Airlines and later established Clickair in 2006, a low-cost Spanish carrier. He emerged as the CEO of Vueling in 2009 when Clickair and Vueling merged as one. And he became the CEO of British Airways in 2016. He has a lot of experience working in the airline industry and initiated lots of transformation – some commendable and some not so commendable – at British Airways.
Cruz will be replaced as CEO of British Airways by Aer Lingus chairman and CEO Sean Doyle, who started with IAG in 1998. Doyle used to work in various executive capacities at British Airways and ultimately became the director of network, fleet, and alliances in 2016, and then the CEO of Aer Lingus in 2019.
“Sean Doyle has extensive experience at British Airways having worked there for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago where he has done an excellent job,” Gallego said. “I am confident that will continue at British Airways.”