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”. 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 have 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.
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