British Airways has announced it is replacing its chief executive Alex Cruz.
As British Airways (BA) navigates “the worst crisis” facing its industry, cutting about 10,000 staff, drawing criticism from staff and MPs who claim the airline has been following a “fire and rehire” policy, the company has announced that Mr. Alex Cruz, who has been with BA since 2016, will be immediately replaced by Aer Lingus boss Sean Doyle. Cruz will stay on as non-executive chairman for a transition period before Mr. Doyle also takes on the role.
According to the BBC, Alex Cruz’s most recent task at BA was to push through thousands of job cuts as well as changes to pay and conditions, which will see many remaining staff earning a lot less in future. The man who appointed him, former IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, had also retired.
Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, which owns BA, 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.”
As for Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, she said the decision is “a sign that the new chief executive of IAG, Luis Gallego, is flexing his muscles and trying to demonstrate he’ll make the changes necessary to lead a sustained recovery for the airline group.” The new IAG boss, Luis Gallego, appears keen to make his mark and rebuild bridges with staff.
A hard time for BA
Susannah Streeter wrote that British Airways is facing the toughest challenge in its history as demand for international travel has plummeted and quarantine restrictions continue to constrain bookings, and that the most recent cuts may have been necessary due to the pandemic, but the way BA went about it – effectively threatening to fire employees who refused to sign new contracts – provoked deep resentment and bitterness among the workforce.
British Airways has also suffered a number of costly IT problems, including an incident in 2017 that left 75,000 flyers stranded and cost the airline £80m.