This is more about the new boss bringing in the team he wants rather than laying blame on Cruz for the current state of the airline.
Luis Gallego, who took over as CEO of IAG last month, stamped his mark on the airlines group on Monday by promoting Aer Lingus boss Sean Doyle to lead British Airways, replacing Alex Cruz with immediate effect.
It was one of a number of management changes announced by the Anglo-Spanish airlines group and marks a return to BA for Doyle, who worked as director of network, fleet and alliances before leaving for Aer Lingus in 2019.
Cruz had been BA boss since 2016 and will stay on as its non-executive chairman for a transition period, IAG said.
Doyle faces a huge challenge at BA, which like all airlines, is struggling due to low levels of flying during the pandemic.
IAG last month raised 2.74 billion euros (2.5 billion pounds) to reduce its debt and help it survive the pandemic.
“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,” Gallego said in a statement.
The last few months have been tough for Cruz who was tasked with driving through 13,000 job cuts at BA, making him a frequent target of trade union hostility.
Gallego, who had been boss of IAG airline Iberia, pipped Cruz to the IAG top job earlier this year, replacing Willie Walsh.
Gallego and Cruz previously worked together at Spanish airline Vueling, now also owned by IAG.
Analysts suggested that a number of high-profile blunders at BA under Cruz, including a data breach for which it was fined $230 million in 2019, and an IT failure in 2017 which left tens of thousands of passengers stranded, would not have helped his cause.
Cruz was also at the helm last year when BA pilots went on strike for the first time, costing the airline more than 137 million euros.
IAG said Fernando Candela, CEO of its airline Level, would take on the new role of group chief transformation officer.
It named Aer Lingus’ Donal Moriarty as interim CEO at the Irish carrier and said a permanent replacement would be announced in due course.
(Reporting by Sarah Young, editing by Michael Holden and Jason Neely)
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: Alex Cruz, then CEO of British Airways, speaking at Skift Forum Europe in 2018. He is being replaced by Aer Lingus chief executive Sean Doyle. Russell Harper / Skift
Business Travel’s Prospects Underscored by London City Airport’s Fragile Recovery
A record-breaking day for passenger numbers, with bankers once again rubbing shoulders with tourists in the terminal. But the good news stops there, because business travel traffic is proving impossible to forecast in the short term, and pre-pandemic levels aren't pegged to return until at least 2025.
Matthew Parsons | 4 days ago
Travel CEOs Cast Doubt on Business Travel’s Full Return and 9 Other Top Travel Stories
In Skift’s top stories this week, numerous travel CEOs express pessimism about a full recovery of corporate travel, a Bill Gates-owned firm becomes the majority stakeholder in Four Seasons Hotels, and Las Vegas emerges as the U.S.' most popular business travel destination.
Rashaad Jorden , Skift | 2 weeks ago
EasyJet Reportedly Rejected Wizz Air Takeover Bid
CEO Johan Lundgren wants to steal market share from the likes of British Airways and Air France-KLM as they restructure their short-haul operations, but is the money enough to give it a headstart against Ryanair?
Sarah Young and Paul Sandle, Reuters | 2 weeks ago