IAG Chief Exec. Willie Walsh to retire; Iberia CEO Luis Gallego to take reins

By Luke Barras-hill |

Walsh-steps-down

Willie Walsh will stand down as CEO and Board Member at IAG on 26 March. Source: World Travel & Tourism Council.

International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced that its long-standing Chief Executive Willie Walsh will step down from the post and Group Board on 26 March ahead of retiring on 30 June.

The current Chief Executive of Iberia Luis Gallego is due to succeed Walsh as CEO.

Walsh’s career with IAG, which controls British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, spans 15 years. During that time, he led the merger and integration of BA and Iberia that resulted in the creation of IAG, something he said had been a ‘privilege’.

He joined Aer Lingus as a cadet pilot in 1979 and went on to become its Chief Executive in 2001. He took up the same post at British Airways four years later and served until 2011 when the merger with Iberia occurred.

British Airways Aer Lingus

Walsh served as BA Chief between 2005-2011.

CREDITED WITH IAG RISE

Antonio Vázquez, IAG Chairman, praised Walsh’s leadership for the formation of IAG into what today is a significant multi-airline group.

“I hugely admire his commitment, strong leadership and clear vision, always ready to take on whatever challenges lay ahead of him,” said Vázquez.

“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.”

Walsh added: “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.”

Walsh’s successor Gallego began his airline industry career in 1997 with Air Nostrum. He has been the CEO of Iberia since 2014 during which time he has led a transformation of the carrier.

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.”

His successor at Iberia will be announced in due course.

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