In an unexpected announcement on Octobr 12th Alex Cruz, who became Chairman and Chief Executive of British Airways in 2016, is stepping down to be replaced by Sean Doyle, currently CEO of Aer Lingus, who previously spent 20 years at BA.
I have known Alex Cruz since he was CEO at Click Air, a low cost subsidiary of Iberia, which merged with Vueling, another low cost airline, where he subsequently also became CEO.
At that time, I came to know an energetic boss who led a dynamic, growing and profitable airline, held in high regard by his young team.
Move from Vueling to British Airways
Moving to British Airways, Cruz had a clear remit to bring his skills in low cost management to further improve the airline’s own efficiency as it faced not only growing low cost short haul competition, but emerging threats from long haul low cost airlines, such as Norwegian.
Some suggest that cost cutting was his only objective, but this neither matches reality nor recognises the achievements which he has delivered whilst at the airline.
There have certainly been difficulties over the past four years. Several IT failures hit the airline and a data breach compromised customer information. To blame Cruz for these is simply lazy. In part legacy systems, which arguably should have been upgraded or replaced years earlier, failed by chance on his watch. A data breach, whilst far from acceptable, is not unique to BA nor to other airlines or indeed other industries. Alex Cruz is highly tech savvy and interested in technology, if anything he was upping BA’s game in this arena and moving it more fully into the