British Airways CEO and Chairman Alex Cruz are stepping down, announced parent firm International Airlines Group (IAG). The reshuffles in top management have been done to tackle the worst ever crisis in the aviation industry. Sean Doyle, Chairman, and CEO of Irish airline Aer Lingus will be the news CEO of British Airways with immediate effect and take charge as chairman after a transition period. Aer Lingus is also owned by IAG. Doyle has several years of experience at British Airways. He moved to Aer Lingus around two years ago. IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said that the aviation industry is facing the worst ever crisis but they are confident that these moves will place IAG in a strong position. The coronavirus has affected the aviation sector badly and has brought the industry to a near standstill.
So far over 40 airlines have failed this year and experts believe that several other airlines will follow in the coming months. Gallego thanked Alex Cruz for its contribution to British Airways. “He led the company through a very challenging phase and managed to secure restructuring agreements with the large majority of employees,” Gallego said. Cruz started his career at American Airlines and later became the chairman of British Airways in April 2016. Earlier to this, he was CEO of Vueling before it was merged with Clickair, an airline Cruz founded in 2006.
Cruz will remain British Airways’ non-executive chairman. His replacement as the CEO, Doyle, has been at the firm since 1998. According to IAG, LEVEL chief executive Fernando Candela would join as the Group’s management committee in a fresh role of chief transformation officer. Meanwhile, current chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty at Aer Lingus will become interim chief executive of the airline, IAG said. Earlier in April, British Airways had warned that it may have to announce up to 12,000 jobs cut. British Airways is also retiring its entire fleet of Boeing 747s. This is being done almost four years ahead of the schedule.