Alex Cruz steps down as BA chief; Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle takes up reins

By Luke Barras-hill |

Alex Cruz will remain as BA non-executive Chairman. Source: Stuart Bailey/

British Airways (BA) has announced that Chief Executive Alex Cruz (pictured right) has stepped down.

In a statement, BA parent International Airlines Group (IAG) has named Sean Doyle, Chairman and Chief Executive at Aer Lingus, as Cruz’s successor.

The change comes as BA negotiates what IAG Chief Executive Luis Gallego calls ‘the worst crisis in our industry’ sparked by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Cruz, who has been with BA since 2016, will continue as BA’s non-executive Chairman for a ‘transition period’ as IAG reveals a management shakeup.

Aer Lingus Chairman and Chief Executive Sean Doyle has been announced as BA’s new Chief Executive. Source: Aer Lingus.


This includes Level Chief Executive Fernando Candela joining IAG’s management committee as a Chief Transformation Officer and Aer Lingus Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Donal Moriarty taking on the post of Interim Chief Executive at the airline. A permanent appointment is due to be announced in due course.

The global air transport sector has been left reeling from the impacts of Covid-19, with thousands of aviation jobs lost following plummeting passenger demand.

In the wake of the crisis, BA announced it was shedding 12,000 jobs earlier this year but has attracted criticism for the handling of the cuts and a restructuring programme that has left it embroiled in disputes with unions.

Announcing the changes, IAG chief executive, Luis Gallego, said: “IAG has proved itself to be one of the world’s leading airline groups with a portfolio of successful companies. 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.

“I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.

“Sean Doyle has extensive experience at British Airways having worked there for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago where he has done an excellent job. I am confident that will continue at British Airways.

“Fernando Candela, who has more than 25 years of experience in aviation and excelled at both Iberia Express and Level, joins our management committee in the new chief transformation officer role.

“He will coordinate change across the Group, focusing on creating a company fit for a different future and ready to take advantage of new opportunities. In the short term, he will also remain Chief Executive of Level until a replacement is appointed. As our new team comes together, we remain focused on making the right operational and strategic decisions for the long-term benefit of all IAG’s stakeholders.”



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