International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways on Monday announced a leadership shakeup which saw the stepping down of Alex Cruz as the airline CEO.
The fallout of the coronavirus pandemic saw Irish airline Aer Lingus chief executive Sean Doyle replacing Mr. Cruz at the London-headquartered airline with immediate effect. Announcement of Mr. Cruz’s departure — he had been with British Airways since 2016 — was one of a series of management changes announced on by the recently appointed IAG CEO Luis Gallego. Mr. Gallego, had replaced Willie Walsh.
At Aer Lingus, Donal Moriarty, current chief corporate affairs officer, becomes interim CEO.
The newspaper quoted Mr. Gallego as saying, “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.”
Sean Doyle was with British Airways for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago. He last held the office of director of network, fleet and alliances at British Airways.
A Spaniard, Mr. Cruz, 54, had started his career at American Airlines in London. In 2016, Willie Walsh made him CEO of British Airways. He is known for launching 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.
Skynews said that 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 will remain non-executive chairman of British Airways for a ‘transition period‘ before also handing over that role to Mr. Doyle. The airline, Skynews said 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, the website reported.