Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

BA’s latest Head of Customer Experience resigns – after a year

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

If you thought that being, say, leader of the Conservative Party or Manchester United manager was bad for job security, it is nothing compared to being the British Airways ‘Head of Customer Experience’.

This is a role which has defeated many people.

The first person to hold the title was, I think, Frank van der Post. Frank joined from Jumeirah Hotels, the Dubai-based hotel group with a strong reputation for customer service. Despite being well liked in the frequent flyer community, Frank left in 2014 after four years, allegedly frustrated with not being given the money he wanted for investment.

Arguably it has been downhill since Frank left.

Tom Stevens British Airways

Frank was replaced by Troy Warfield. Warfield only lasted 18 months. His appointment raised eyebrows at the time because he had no airline experience, having previously worked at Avis and Kimberley-Clark, where he oversaw Andrex in Europe.

Warfield was replaced in 2017 by Carolina Martinoli who had done a similar role at Iberia. She was later promoted to the IAG board as Chief People Officer.

Tom Stevens, previously head of airport operations for BA, picked up the customer experience mandate on an interim basis during the pandemic. He was confirmed in the role in early 2021.

After a year, Stevens also appears to have been beaten by the job. Is there anyone out there who can take on the challenge of improving the British Airways customer experience without spending any money?

BA told us in a statement:

After a successful tenure as our Director of Brand and Customer Experience, Tom Stevens has informed [us] that he has taken the difficult decision to leave the company to pursue his ambition to work overseas. Tom joined us as a graduate just over 10 years ago and his talent was obvious from the start. His drive, energy and commitment to BA saw him rise through the ranks, holding roles in Procurement, IAG and Aer Lingus before moving to become Head of Customer for us at Heathrow and subsequently Head of Worldwide Airports. Tom is an incredible customer champion and has ensured continuous improvement during his time with us as a Director, bringing innovative thinking to everything he takes on.

Stevens is being replaced by Calum Laming, who was only promoted to Director of Business Recovery in February. Laming was previously Chief Customer Officer at Vueling, IAG’s low cost carrier. Vueling, when Alex Cruz was CEO, had a poor record for customer satisfaction although there have been some improvements since.

Laming does at least understand the coal face, having once worked as cabin crew for Go (a low cost carrier). That said, there were good external candidates available such as Daniel Kerzner, who did the role at Virgin Atlantic pre-covid and previously for Starwood Hotels.

Good luck Calum!


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (69)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BFT01 says:

    Barbara Cassani started the airline Go, but after it was taken over by Easyjet she left and went on to become the Chair of Olympic Bid company London 2012, she was replaced by Lord Seb Coe, after the successful bid the company was wound down and replaced by L.O.C.O.G. (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games)
    Her book Go an Airline Adventure is a interesting read.

    • Richie says:

      btw the book was co-written by Kenny Kemp. It is a good read. The bit about competing with Monarch is interesting.

    • ChrisC says:

      She was already working for BA in the US and was given the job by Bob Ayling to set up Go as lo cost airline within BA.

      She was then part of a management buy out that took it out of BA.

      When easy then bought it they didn’t want her.

      Re the Olympic bid Lord Coe became chair of the bid committee a year before the games were awarded to London and she remained vice chair of the bid company.

  • T says:

    Experience? What experience……

  • Steve Chambers says:

    So, Calum Laming, trained at the Alex Cruz school of customer service/experience!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.