In a Stock Market announcement this morning, Willie Walsh announced that he is standing down as Chief Executive of IAG, the British Airways parent company, on 26th March.
His formal retirement date has been set for 30th June.
He will NOT be replaced by Alex Cruz, Chairman and Chief Executive of British Airways. This is unusual as BA is, by far, the dominant business unit inside IAG.
Instead, Walsh will be replaced by Luis Gallego who is currently CEO of Iberia.
Gallego was previously at Air Nostrum, Clickair and Vueling. His first CEO role was in 2012 at Iberia Express, and he took over at the broader Iberia group in 2013 where he reversed six consecutive years of operating losses.
Iberia has seen an amazing turnaround since being ‘acquired’ in the ‘merger’ that created IAG. It has invested in a new long haul fleet, with better business class seating than Club World, and added new routes. Sales and profits have grown sharply whilst staff numbers have been slashed as a more ‘commercial’ approach was taken.
There are two ways of looking at this decision, I think.
The first is that the work at Iberia is ‘done’, with the transformation complete, and it makes more sense to leave Alex in place to complete the job at BA. The problem here is that the work at BA is done. The fleet upgrade orders are placed, the new Club Suite is unveiled, the wi-fi roll-out is almost complete, the catering upgrade is done ….. the next 2-3 years will be about implementation more than announcements, and that could be done just as well under a new leader.
The second view is that Cruz had lost some of Willie’s faith. Back in October, Walsh publicly criticised the BA management team over its failure to stop the pilot strike. The astonishing £183 million fine over the 2018 data breach – a figure which is likely to increase when the class action lawsuit by customers goes ahead – is also likely to have played a part.
It will be interesting to see if Cruz chooses to leave, as it often the case when the logical heir apparent is passed over.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)