British Airways boss Alex Cruz replaced by Sean Doyle, in Covid management reshuffle
British Airways (BA) chief executive Alex Cruz has down (was removed) from the job, immediately. He has led BA since 2016, through what IAG says is “a particularly demanding period” as Covid prompted major restructuring. IAG boss Luis Gallego said the shake-up came as the company navigated “the worst crisis faced in our industry” – which has seen demand crushed and thousands of jobs axed. The new BA CEO will be Sean Doyle, who is now at Aer Lingus – also part of IAG. Mr Doyle previously worked at BA for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus two years ago. This is one of a series of management changes announced by Mr Gallego, who took over as IAG chief executive a month ago after the retirement of Willie Walsh. Mr Cruz will remain non-executive chairman of BA for a “transition period” before also handing over that role to Mr Doyle. BA has been sharply criticised by the way it has treated staff, for whom there is no longer much work. A total of up to 13,000 BA staff were expected to lose their jobs, and over 8,000 have already gone. Last week, MAG – owner of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports – announced plans to cut nearly 900 jobs as the Treasury’s furlough scheme comes to an end.
Coronavirus: British Airways boss Alex Cruz steps down as industry faces ‘worst crisis’
By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter @JPFordRojas (Sky News)
Monday 12 October 2020
Alex Cruz has led BA since 2016, IAG said Mr Cruz had led the airline “through a particularly demanding period” as the pandemic prompted major restructuring.
British Airways (BA) chief executive Alex Cruz is stepping down from the role with immediate effect, owner International Airlines Group (IAG) has said.
IAG boss Luis Gallego said the shake-up came as the company navigated “the worst crisis faced in our industry” – which has seen demand crushed by the coronavirus crisis and thousands of jobs axed.
BA’s new chief executive will be Sean Doyle, who is being brought in from Irish carrier Aer Lingus – also part of IAG.
It was one of a series of management changes announced on Monday by Mr Gallego, who took over as IAG chief executive a month ago after the retirement of Willie Walsh.
Mr Gallego said: “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.”
He said Mr Cruz had “worked tirelessly to modernise the airline”, adding that he had also “led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees”.
Mr Doyle, BA’s new boss, previously worked at the airline for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus two years ago.
Mr Cruz will remain non-executive chairman of BA for a “transition period” before also handing over that role to Mr Doyle.
BA has been undergoing a painful restructuring as it counts the cost of the coronavirus crisis and slashes flight schedules.
Last month it revealed progress in its negotiations with unions over changes to pay and conditions as it battles to save costs.
But it also said a total of up to 13,000 were expected to lose their roles at the airline, with more than 8,000 having already gone.
BA’s handling of the restructuring drew accusations of a “despicable” fire-and-rehire approach, but Mr Cruz told MPs last month that it was on course to secure agreement with trade unions.
He also reiterated that the impact of the pandemic means it is “fighting for its survival”.
Sky’s coronavirus jobs tracker shows aviation has been the sector worst hit by the crisis with easyJet, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and Gatwick also among those making big cuts.
Last week, Manchester Airports Group – owner of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports – announced plans to axe nearly 900 roles as the Treasury’s furlough scheme comes to an end.
The announcement of a government task force to look at using testing to try to reduce travellers’ quarantine periods received a lukewarm response, with no timeframe for a testing regime to be introduced.
Monthly passenger statistics published by Heathrow on Monday underlined the scale of the crisis, showing a decline of 5.5 million in numbers in September – or 82% – compared with a year earlier, to 1.2 million.
Mr Cruz had a tough period in charge of BA even before the pandemic struck, hit by strike action a year ago and a huge customer data breach in 2018 which saw it facing a fine of £183m.
Willie Walsh takes CarTrawler role after leaving BA owner IAG
Irish car hire technology firm appoints 58-year-old as deputy chairman
By Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent @GwynTopham (The Guardian)
Thu 24 Sep 2020
Walsh delayed his planned retirement from the start of 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis.
Willie Walsh has joined the board of the Irish car hire technology firm CarTrawler – his first appointment since departing as the chief executive of British Airways’ owner, IAG.
The 58-year-old, one of the leading figures in global aviation in the past two decades, will be deputy chairman of the Dublin-based company.
The business-to-business CarTrawler provides the technology to connect airlines and travel firms with car booking, working for brands including easyJet, Emirates, Hotels.com and American Express. It was bought by the private equity firm TowerBrook Capital earlier this year and the new owner pledged to invest more than €100m (£91.2m) to drive its growth.
CarTrawler’s chairman, Patrick Kennedy, said Walsh would bring “a wealth of extensive global experience” in aviation that would “add significant value as the world recovers”.
The firm’s chief executive, Cormac Barry, said car rental was more relevant than ever because of Covid-19: “We are seeing demand for car rental recovering quicker than other modes of transport as consumers see the car as the safest way to travel.”
The firm’s platform gives airlines the opportunity to sell airport transfers and car hire, the kind of ancillary revenues that have played a significant role in maximising budget airlines’ profits.
The move for Walsh comes only weeks after he left IAG, having delayed his planned retirement from the start of 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis. He handed over to the Iberia boss, Luis Gallego, at IAG’s annual meeting in Madrid, where almost 30% of shareholders voted against or abstained on the remuneration report, which awarded Walsh an £833,000 annual bonus.
Walsh’s exit came alongside that of more than 10,000 British Airways staff. Walsh’s final months involved overseeing a process of mass redundancies at the airline, a controversial process during which MPs brand BA a “national disgrace”.
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However, Walsh said that the effects of the pandemic, which grounded planes for several months and has resulted in passenger numbers being at a small fraction of pre-Covid level, would last years and mean a different future, and that the industry needed to “embrace that reality”.
The CarTrawler appointment marks a return to Walsh’s native Dublin, where he started his aviation career as an Aer Lingus cadet pilot in 1979. He was appointed chief executive of the airline 22 years later, eventually becoming boss of BA and then IAG, the airline group he first established through the merger with Iberia in 2011.
CarTrawler refused to disclose how many days a month Walsh would work or his salary.