Alex Cruz former BA boss among contenders to run Scandinavian airline SAS

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon 5th April 2021) London, Uk – –

Alex Cruz is among a number of contenders to replace Rickard Gustafson as SAS’s chief executive, Sky News learns.

Alex Cruz, the former British Airways (BA) boss, has been approached about becoming the new chief executive of SAS, Scandinavia’s biggest airline.

Sky News has learnt that Mr Cruz, who left BA last autumn, is among a small number of candidates identified by the partly state-owned carrier to succeed Rickard Gustafson.

The status of discussions between SAS and Mr Cruz was unclear on Monday, while the identity of any other contenders for the job could not be ascertained.

SAS did not respond to a request for comment, and Mr Cruz could not be reached.

If he does secure the role, it would mark a rapid comeback to the international airline industry for the Spaniard.

Mr Cruz spent four-and-a-half years as BA's chairman and chief executive, steering it through a period of unprecedented turbulence last year when Britain's flag-carrier found itself largely grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.

He was forced to defend a series of management mis-steps, and was the focal point of intense criticism over BA's fire-and-rehire policy as it scrambled to shore up its balance sheet.

Reporting to Willie Walsh, the then chief executive of BA's parent, International Airlines Group (IAG), Mr Cruz also took the flak for an IT meltdown in 2017 which caused thousands of passengers to miss their flights.

He insisted last year that BA was engaged in a “fight for survival” as it raised billions of pounds from the sale of new shares and debt.

According to Mr Cruz's LinkedIn profile, he is a board member and advisor at two technology companies, Sherpa.ai and Fetcherr.

Prior to taking the helm at BA, he was the founding chief executive at Clickair, which subsequently merged with Vueling.

Vueling is one of IAG's other subsidiaries.

SAS's search for a chief executive has been ongoing since January, when it announced that Mr Gustafson was leaving to run the Swedish industrial group SKF.

The airline, which is partly owned by the Danish and Swedish governments, recorded a loss last year of more than $1bn.

By Mark Kleinman