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British Airways CEO Alex Cruz is stepping down to be replaced by Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle


Alex Cruz was a victim of new IAG boss Luis Gallego, who tried to flex his muscles, experts claimed after the BA boss resigned after a difficult four-year tenure.

Mr. Cruz, who was named BA chief in 2016, is slated to be replaced by Aer Lingus' chief executive, Sean Doyle, but remains as non-executive chairman for a transition period before his successor takes over the role.

The secret of the sudden departure of Mr Cruz, who faced MPs less than a month ago to defend the airline's actions during the pandemic.

However, experts have now claimed the decision is an example of Mr Gallego, who took over the management of BA parent company IAG last month and tried to give his authority to the airline.

Several other management changes were made today, with Mr Gallego apparently looking to draw a line under Mr Cruz's difficult tenure during which he oversaw BA's first strike, a massive data breach and controversial job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Gallego is hoping to spur a rebound for the airline and it is believed that he would like a new face at the helm of BA as Mr Cruz's relationship with workers, unions and politicians grows troubled.

In April, BA announced plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs, 30 percent of the global workforce. The airline was accused of threatening a "fire and rehire" program that saw some employees face wage cuts of up to 50%.

The union Unite claimed it had only "partially reversed" the issue, with "still too many BA workers facing threats to their wages and working life".

In June the Commons Transport Select Committee called the airline's treatment of its workers a "national disgrace".

Mr Cruz defended the downsizing last month, saying the pandemic left the national carrier "in the fight for survival".

Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Market Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said, “The fact that his resignation comes so soon after Mr. Gallego took office at IAG would indicate that he certainly felt under pressure to join the company leave. Whether this was ultimately his own decision or one made for him is not yet clear.

The last six months in particular have clearly been extremely difficult for Mr Cruz as he embarked on a major restructuring program to radically cut costs and cut thousands of jobs in response to the crisis.

Sean Doyle, Aer Lingus General Manager

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz (left) is due to leave his role, the airline's parent company has confirmed. He will be replaced by Aer Lingus General Manager Sean Doyle (right).

It is believed that Luis Gallego, the new managing director of the IAG, is behind the great shock

It is believed that Luis Gallego, the new managing director of the IAG, is behind the great shock

& # 39; He was heavily criticized for having plans to renegotiate contracts with remaining employees and appeared to be announcing a new draft contract with unions a few weeks ago.

"It is likely that now in this tense time of industrial relations and radical cost cutting, Mr Gallego would like to draw a line and start over by putting Doyle at the helm."

She added, “This is a sign that IAG's new CEO Luis Gallego is flexing his muscles and trying to demonstrate that he will make the changes necessary to bring about a sustainable recovery for the airline group.

& # 39; Sean Doyle will stop working to make immediate progress as British Airways faces the biggest challenge in its history as the demand for international travel has fallen and quarantine restrictions continue to limit bookings.

'He is seen as a safe choice and, given his extensive experience with British Airways, perhaps someone who will be a peacemaker to help bring the workforce to the great challenges ahead.

Alex Cruz's troubled tenure as CEO of British Airways

Alex Cruz's sudden move as Chief Executive of British Airways has cut a difficult four years at the helm.

Mr. Cruz was named CEO in 2016, replacing Teeside businessman Keith Williams.

However, the Spanish-born, now former chairman, faced a difficult time overseeing BA. A series of controversies culminated in the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2016, he left 700 British Airways employees unemployed when he closed the airline's computer division.

He then outsourced their computer systems to the Indian company Tata Consultancy Services, which drew anger from the unions.

BA then had a number of costly IT problems during Mr. Cruz's tenure.

One such incident in 2017 left 75,000 passengers stranded and cost the airline £ 80 million.

In 2018 BA was fined under the Data Protection Act after a massive data protection breach.

Mr Cruz said he was "surprised and disappointed" after the airline was hit with a £ 183.4 million fine for the violation that compromised the personal information of 500,000 people.

There were more problems for Mr Cruz in 2019 when BA pilots went on strike in September, the first time the company was ever hit by industrial action.

Pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) union went on strike, leaving 1,700 flights on the ground, affecting nearly 200,000 passengers.

Heathrow was the airport hardest hit by the strike.

However, the coronavirus pandemic turned out to be the most devastating event in Mr Cruz's tenure and resulted in his resignation as CEO.

In April, British Airways announced plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs, representing nearly 30 percent of the workforce.

The airline was accused of threatening a "Fire and Rehire" program that saw some employees face wage cuts of up to 50%.

The union Unite claimed it had only "partially reversed" the issue with "still too many BA workers facing threats to their wages and working life".

In June the Commons Transport Select Committee called the airline's treatment of its workers a "national disgrace".

Mr Cruz defended the downsizing last month, saying the pandemic left the national carrier "in the fight for survival".

However, he refused to comment on a £ 833,000 bonus paid to outgoing chief of BA's parent company Willie Walsh, who left the IAG in September.

'Now I would expect the company's focus to shift from survival mode to recovery position, and it is likely that plans are already being made for a period of in-flight advertising to entice customers back to heaven after quarantine restrictions to fly canceled. & # 39;

Stephen Furlong, an analyst at Davy, said it was no surprise that Gallego was quick to act to make the changes. He called him "crucial" and noted that his background was in bringing about significant reorganizations at Iberia Express and IAG's Iberia.

& # 39; The past few months have been tough for Cruz as he was tasked with handling 13,000 job cuts at BA, making him a frequent target of union hostility.

"I suspect they wanted a newer face with BA," Furlong said, adding that Doyle had proven himself with Aer Lingus, which was getting into the coronavirus crisis as IAG's leading airline.

Howard Beckett, Unite Assistant General Secretary, said, “Unsurprisingly, Alex Cruz suddenly left British Airways. Dealing with industrial relations during this crisis has been unnecessarily confrontational and sometimes heartless.

& # 39; The harsh reality is that BA's fire and reinstatement policies uncovered by Unite caused immeasurable and unnecessary misery to thousands of loyal employees. These brutal industrial practices have damaged BA's international reputation.

& # 39; It has only been possible to avoid widespread industrial action due to the committed work of Unite and, in particular, our shop stewards.

& # 39; We hope that new CEO Sean Doyle will begin a new chapter in constructive relationships with employees and unions, repairing the airline's reputation and improving employee morale. Unite is ready to work with the new CEO.

"It is vital at this moment of crisis that the terms on which Mr Cruz is leaving British Airways are fully transparent and that they are the same as the thousands of employees who have left the company."

National Civil Aviation Officer Oliver Richardson said: “While this change clearly marks a new chapter for British Airways, there is still uncertainty and the ongoing threat of 'fire and reinstatement' hanging over a number of BA employees. These threats should be addressed to allow a constructive approach to the challenges ahead. "

Brian Strutton, General Secretary of the Balpa Pilots Union, said: “Mr. Cruz has been in the departure lounge for a while so this is not a surprise. He was given the job of cutting costs and found it impossible to do it without alienating BA passengers and staff alike. & # 39;

He added, "I hope this ushers in a new dawn where BA is acting like the proud airline it should be."

Nadine Houghton, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Alex Cruz launched the worst attack on BA employees in the company's history.

& # 39; It leaves a demoralized workforce during the biggest crisis the aviation industry has ever seen.

& # 39; Cruz is now the scapegoat for BA's catastrophic threat of fire and reinstatement. His departure should be a stern warning to any other CEO who believes it is a tactic he can get away with frivolously. & # 39;

Passenger numbers have fallen and in the first week of September the airline flew only 187,000 passengers, compared to nearly a million in the same week last year. The slump in flights – about a quarter is in operation – results in BA burning £ 20 million a day and leading to a workplace bloodbath.

The pandemic has resulted in a collapse in air travel demand and passenger numbers are not expected to return to 2019 levels by 2024.

Mr Cruz previously stressed that "people have to fly again" if the company is to emerge in winter and survive the "worst crisis in its 100-year history".

However, he refused to comment on a £ 833,000 bonus paid to outgoing chief of BA's parent company, Willie Walsh, who left the IAG in September.

Mr. Cruz earned £ 805,000 in salaries, benefits and pensions last year.

During his tenure, he was also criticized for several other incidents.

In 2016, he left 700 British Airways employees unemployed when he closed the airline's computer division.

He then outsourced their computer systems to the Indian company Tata Consultancy Services, which drew anger from the unions.

BA then had a number of costly IT problems during Mr. Cruz's tenure.

One such incident in 2017 left 75,000 passengers stranded and cost the airline £ 80 million.

In 2018 BA was fined under the Data Protection Act after a massive data protection violation.

Mr Cruz said he was "surprised and disappointed" after the airline was hit with a £ 183.4 million fine for the violation that compromised the personal information of 500,000 people.

The Irish Aer Lingus boss will be the new boss of British Airways

Sean Doyle first joined British Airways in 1998 and has held a variety of financial, strategic and commercial roles that led to his appointment as Director of Network, Fleet and Alliances in 2016.

During his work, he was responsible for network and fleet planning, airline partnerships and overseeing BA's London Gatwick and BA Citiflyer operations. Sean is the non-executive director of Comair Holdings SA.

During his time at BA, he held a variety of roles including Finance Director BA Cargo, Head of Corporate Strategy and Executive Vice President British Airways Americas.

Born in Cork, he became CEO of Aer Lingus in January 2019.

Mr. Cruz will remain with British Airways as a non-executive chairman for a transitional period until Mr. Doyle takes over the role.

The IAG refused to confirm the duration of the transition period.

Donal Moriarty, currently Aer Lingus' Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, will become Interim Chief Executive of the Irish airline.

There were more problems for Mr Cruz in 2019 when BA pilots went on strike in September, the first time the company was ever hit by industrial action.

Pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) union went on strike, leaving 1,700 flights on the ground, affecting nearly 200,000 passengers.

Heathrow was the airport hardest hit by the strike.

It is believed that these incidents may have contributed to a feeling of discomfort about Mr. Cruz's tenure.

The new CEO, Mr Doyle, first joined British Airways in 1998 and held a variety of financial, strategic and commercial roles that led to his appointment as Director of Network, Fleet and Alliances in 2016.

Born in Cork, he became CEO of Aer Lingus in January 2019.

Mr. Cruz will remain with British Airways as a non-executive chairman for a transitional period until Mr. Doyle takes over the role.

The IAG refused to confirm the duration of the transition period.

Fernando Candela, Managing Director of the IAG low-cost airline Level, joins the IAG Management Committee in a new role as Chief Transformation Officer.

Donal Moriarty, currently Aer Lingus' Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, will become Interim Chief Executive of the Irish airline.

IAG General Manager Mr. Gallego said: “We are dealing with the worst crisis in our industry and I am confident that these internal promotions will ensure that IAG is well placed to perform in a strong position.

“I want to thank Alex for everything he has done at British Airways. In the years leading up to the 100th anniversary, he worked tirelessly to modernize the airline.

"Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has reached restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees."

Mr Cruz's removal from his position came after news broke that Heathrow's passenger numbers fell 81% in September.

Only 1.3 million people traveled through West London Airport last month, compared to 6.8 million in September 2019.

More than half of the passengers who used Heathrow last month flew to or from the European Union.

Heathrow said long-haul business travel continues to be restricted by international border closings and "a lack of testing" for Covid-19.

Last week, the government unveiled a task force to develop a coronavirus test system to ease quarantine restrictions on arriving passengers.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “The government's Global Travel Taskforce is a big step forward but needs to act quickly to save the millions of jobs in the UK that depend on aviation.

Implementing Test and Release after five days of quarantine would boost the economy.

The new IAG supremo seemed to be behind Alex Cruz's sudden exit from BA

The removal of Alex Cruz as CEO of British Airways is said to have been pushed by the new IAG boss Luis Gallego.

Mr Gallego hopes to spur a recovery for the airline as the pandemic causes carnage in the aviation industry.

He is an aeronautical engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid who started in the Air Force Training Service.

He worked for the Spanish airlines Aviaco, INDRA and between 1997 and 2006 in various positions at Air Nostrum – where he was technical director of the maintenance workshop until his signing by Clickair as production manager until the merger of the airline with Vueling.

Mr. Gallego was production manager at Vueling and was responsible for flight operations, instruction, quality and safety, maintenance and operations.

He was commissioned by Iberia to found Iberia Express in 2012, where he was CEO of the company until he switched to Iberia, initially as CEO on March 27, 2013 and since January 1, 2014 as Executive Chairman of the company.

Mr Gallego has a base salary of £ 820,000.

"But the government could show real leadership by working with the US to develop a common international standard for pre-departure testing that means only non-Covid passengers are allowed to travel from high-risk countries."

Mr Cruz previously said, "Fewer passengers mean fewer flights, and fewer flights mean fewer people it takes to actually operate them."

In April, British Airways announced plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs, representing nearly 30 percent of the workforce.

On September 16, Mr. Cruz announced that 7,200 employees have already left the company and said the final amount from layoffs would likely be 10,000, although it could be higher.

When he appeared before the Commons Transport Select Committee, he said, “As CEO of British Airways, I have responsibilities. I cannot ignore the situation. I had to act incredibly quickly.

"I deeply regret that too many of my loyal and hardworking colleagues have left our business and I understand why MEPs are concerned."

Mr Cruz said he had "very difficult, yet very constructive" meetings with the Balpa pilots union, which resulted in a package of job and wage cuts being agreed to avoid a large number of layoffs.

But he added, 'This is an impossible situation. We have to make incredibly difficult decisions as a result of this pandemic, and it was only because of Covid-19 that we had to go through such a profound restructuring.

"I have to make these tough decisions at this point, but I am fully committed and focused on protecting the nearly 30,000 jobs of British Airways colleagues who will stay in business."

The chief executive, whose fleet was largely on the ground during the pandemic, said his mission goal was the survival of the UK flagship airline.

Ignoring BA's precarious future, he said, “The main focus right now is survival.

"We have to do it, then we have to be able to compete effectively and get through the recovery cycle … people have to fly again."

Exposing the tough battle to resurrect BA's financial fortunes, he said, “We landed with British Airways last year with £ 2.6 billion in cash.

At the end of June we had £ 2.1 billion in cash. We burned an average of £ 20 million in cash a day. & # 39;

Mr Cruz told MPs that BA had processed 2.1 million refunds and 1.6 million vouchers for customers whose flights had been canceled.

Mr Cruz announced that he had made a 33.3 percent pay cut and his top team had made a 25 percent cut.

Last year the boss earned £ 805,000 in salaries, benefits and pensions, he said.

But Mr Cruz's efforts could be foiled by a nervous public claiming to avoid overseas travel for fear of being quarantined.

He said, “People are still afraid to travel. Of course, as you know, we have weekly changes to the quarantine list.

& # 39; We don't have a test solution yet. And yet our customers pay APD (Air Passenger Duty), even only for domestic flights.

"So the overall situation is pretty challenging and we're taking all possible steps to make sure we can actually get through this winter."

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