International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent
company of British Airways and Iberia, has announced that British Airways’ Alex
Cruz is to step down from the role of chief executive with immediate effect.
Cruz will remain as the airline’s non-executive chairman for now.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: “Cruz has been in the departure lounge for some time so this is no surprise. He was given a remit to cut costs and found it impossible to do that without alienating BA passengers and employees alike.
Cruz had been criticised by unions because of a plan to "fire and rehire" up to 12,000 staff.
Strutton added: “Willie Walsh has also gone, BA parted company with its COO earlier this year and now with the CEO leaving I hope this heralds a new dawn which sees BA behaving like the proud flag carrier airline it should be."
Aer Lingus chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle
will take over as chief executive of British Airways and will also become the airline's chairman
after a transition period. Doyle’s place at Aer Lingus will be filled by Donal
Moriarty, currently the airline’s chief corporate affairs officer, whol will become
interim chief executive. A permanent appointment will be announced in due
IAG chief executive, Luis 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."
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
Gallego 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."
The group also announced that Fernando Candela, the chief executive of IAG’s low-cost carrier LEVEL will join the group’s management committee in a new role of chief transformation officer.