It seems with a new year, change continues to be in the air with International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh stepping down from group and retiring.
Willie Walsh will step down from the IAG Cheif Executive officer roll from 26th March 2020 and will retire on the 30th June 2020.
Meanwhile, Luis Gallego, currently Iberia chief executive, will succeed Willie in the position of CEO for the group. A replacement for Luis at Iberia will be announced in due course.
Willie started with Aer Lingus as a cadet pilot and rose through the ranks to its CEO role in 2001. In 2005, he joined British Airways and drove forward the merger of British Airways and Iberia into IAG.
Antonio Vázquez, IAG chairman, said:
“Willie has led the merger and successful integration of British Airways and Iberia to form IAG. Under Willie’s leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.
“Willie has been the main driver of this unique idea that is IAG. I hugely admire his commitment, strong leadership and clear vision, always ready to take on whatever challenges lay ahead of him. I am deeply respectful of what he has achieved as CEO of this Group, of his sense of fairness, his transparency and his capacity to integrate people regardless of nationalities or backgrounds.
“Willie has established a strong management team and I am delighted that Luis will be promoted from this team to succeed Willie as CEO. Luis started his career in the airline industry in 1997 with Air Nostrum and, since 2014, he has been CEO of Iberia where he has led a profound transformation of this airline. The Board is confident that Luis is the right person to lead IAG in the next stage of its development and we look forward to working closely with Luis in his new role”.
Willie Walsh said:
“It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG. I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG. Luis has been a core member of the team and has shown true leadership over the years and I have no doubt he will be a great CEO of IAG“.
Luis Gallego said:
“It has been a great pleasure to work with Willie over the last seven years. It is a huge honour to lead this great company. It is an exciting time at IAG and I am confident that we can build on the strong foundations created by Willie“.
As for Alex Cruz…
Someone might feel he’s been overlooked for promotion – but Alex Cruz made a bit of a hash of things the past few years with a data breach, cabin crew and pilot strikes that grounded the airline.
Considering British Airways can be seen as a dominant business unit of IAG, it might be time for the Senor to find a new job.
We may not like him…
But whilst Willie Walsh slashed and cut, he also made fiscal successes of Aer Lingus, British Airways and IAG.
With him adding Aer Lingus, British Midland and Vueling to the stable, whilst creating LEVEL to combat the low-cost long-haul operations and centralising cargo under the IAG Cargo flag.
In addition, both Iberia and British Airways have stablised fiscally, with profits rising.
He’s going to leave a group behind that can rival Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Group in ability to challenge and adapt to the changing aviation environment in Europe and beyond.
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