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British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz is stepping down from the role with immediate effect, according to British Airways and Iberia parent company International Airlines Group. Cruz will remain as the airline's non-executive chairman for now.
Aer Lingus chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle will take over as chief executive of British Airways and also will become the airline's chairman after a transition period. Doyle's place at Aer Lingus will be filled by Donal Moriarty, currently the airline's chief corporate affairs officer, who will become interim chief executive. A permanent appointment will be announced in due course.
Cruz had been criticized by unions because of a plan to "fire and rehire" up to 12,000 staff.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: "Cruz has been in the departure lounge for some time so this is no surprise. He was given a remit to cut costs and found it impossible to do that without alienating BA passengers and employees alike."
Strutton added: "Willie Walsh has also gone, BA parted company with its COO earlier this year and now with the CEO leaving I hope this heralds a new dawn which sees BA behaving like the proud flag carrier airline it should be."
IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said, "I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernize the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.
"We're navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and I'm confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position."
Gallego added: "Sean Doyle has extensive experience at British Airways having worked there for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago, where he has done an excellent job. I am confident that will continue at British Airways."
The group also announced that Fernando Candela, chief executive of Level, IAG's low-cost carrier, will join the group's management committee in a new role of chief transformation officer.
Originally published in BTN Europe.
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