The chief executive of British Airways has stepped down after four years in the role.

Alex Cruz has had to navigate turbulence including overseeing job cuts which run into the tens of thousands due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, industrial action, data breaches and Brexit. The reasons behind his departure are not yet known.

BA announced plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs in April, amounting to 30 per cent of its global workforce. The airline was also accused by unions of threatening a ‘fire and rehire’ scheme which would see some employees facing pay cuts of 50 per cent.

Aer Lingus CEO to take helm at BA

Cruz will be replaced by Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle. IAG chief executive Luis Gallego has referred to the pandemic which has led many airlines struggling, as “the worst crisis faced in our industry.”

He said: “I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise 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.”

COVID-19: aviation industry’s “worst crisis”

Sean Doyle previously worked at British Airways, moving to head Aer Lingus at the start of 2019. He will take over at BA after a transition period. Gallego added: “IAG has proved itself to be one of the world’s leading airline groups with a portfolio of successful companies. 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.”

Donal Moriarty, who is currently chief corporate affairs officer at Aer Lingus, will become the Irish carrier’s interim boss. Fernando Candela, chief executive of its low-cost Level airline, is joining IAG’s group management committee in a new role of chief transformation officer.

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