Business

British Airways CEO resigns because the airline tackles "the business's worst disaster".

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British Airways' announcement fell short of some frequent flyers who expressed their disappointment online.

Scott Barbour

British Airways Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz will step down as chief executive of the airline's parent company IAG on Monday. Aer Lingus Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle will take over the helm after a transition period.

"We are in the worst of our industry's crisis and I am confident that these internal promotions will ensure that IAG is well placed to perform in a strong position," said IAG CEO Luis Gallego in a statement.

The coronavirus outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on air travel and the pandemic has brought the industry to a virtual standstill.

More than 40 airlines have failed so far this year, and aviation professionals expect more to follow in the coming months.

"I would like to thank Alex for everything he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernize the airline in the years leading up to its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly challenging period and has worked with the the vast majority of employees entered into restructuring agreements, "Gallego said.

Cruz, who began his career with American Airlines, became Chairman and CEO of British Airways in April 2016. He was previously CEO of Vueling from 2009 when it merged with Clickair, an airline Cruz founded in 2006.

Cruz will remain the non-executive chairman of British Airways, IAG said. His successor as CEO of the airline, Doyle, has been with the company since 1998.

Doyle held various roles with British Airways before joining the airline's Executive Management Committee as Director of Network, Fleet and Alliances in 2016.

Doyle became General Manager of Aer Lingus in January 2019.

"Sean Doyle has extensive experience with British Airways, having worked there for 20 years before joining Aer Lingus almost two years ago where he did an excellent job. I am confident this will continue at British Airways", said Gallego from IAG.

IAG's shares fell 0.2% during morning trading, reversing previous gains.

According to IAG, Fernando Candela, CEO of LEVEL, will assume a new role as Chief Transformation Officer as the Group's Management Committee.

At Aer Lingus, Donal Moriarty, the current chief corporate affairs officer, will become the airline's interim chief executive, IAG said, adding that a permanent appointment will be announced in due course.

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Steven Gregory