British Airways chief executive and chairman Alex Cruz is stepping down to be replaced by the boss of Aer Lingus, Sean Doyle.
Cruz will quit from the top job – one of the most high profile positions in British business – with immediate effect and become non-executive chairman.
The decision was made by Luis Gallego, the new chief executive of BA and Aer Lingus’s parent company, IAG, in his first major announcement since taking over from Willie Walsh.
Cruz will be remembered by investors as being a tough operator who helped turn British Airways into a more profitable airline before the the Covid 19 crisis but critics and staff will remember him for difficult labour relations, staff culls and the notorious IT failure in 2017 which left 75,000 passengers stranded.
Gallego said: « I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees. »
He added: “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. I am confident that will continue at British Airways. »
Spaniard Alex Cruz, 54, started his career at American Airlines in London before joining British Airways in 1998. Willie Walsh made him CEO of BA in 2016 after which he launched a ruthless cost-cutting campaign, closing down and outsourcing the airline’s computer systems and bringing in efficiencies across the board that led to run-ins with unions.
In 2019, pilots walked out during a dispute over pay in a long-running battle with the Balpa union.
Then, as Covid 19 hit, he launched plans to make up to 12,000 staff redundant and put many older staff on lower paid, more flexible contracts.
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Actu monde – GB – Alex Cruz quits as British Airways chief executive in major shakeup