British Airways Boss Willie Walsh to step down

( via– Thur, 9th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

The 58-year-old former pilot, who was appointed boss of BA in 2005, will step down from his role leading IAG in March.

Willie Walsh, the British Airways boss who orchestrated its merger with Iberia to create International Airlines Group, is retiring.

The company said the 58-year-old would step down as chief executive of IAG in March – to be replaced by Luis Gallego, who currently runs Iberia.

Mr Walsh, a former Aer Lingus pilot, took over at BA in 2005, later becoming leader of the wider group – which today also includes the Irish carrier as well as low-cost brands Vueling and Level.

IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez said: “Under Willie's leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.”

Mr Walsh said: “It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG.”

The announcement comes amid a dispute between BA and pilots' union Balpa.

Over the past year, BA has also been dealing with the fallout from a 2018 data breach affecting hundreds of thousands of customers that saw the UK information regulator propose a £183m fine.

Mr Walsh made his name standing up to unions and cutting costs – firstly at Aer Lingus where he took over in 2001.

He led British Airways into its merger with IAG in 2011.

The group is due to publish full-year results.

It warned in October that industrial action by BA pilots, together with other disruption, hit profits by €155m (£132m) in the third quarter of 2019.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas