International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced that Alex Cruz has stepped down as the boss of British Airways after less than five years in the role.

Current Aer Lingus chairman and CEO Sean Doyle has replaced Cruz as the chief executive of BA, and will also take over as chairman “after a transition period”. Cruz will retain the position as the carrier’s non-executive chairman.

Formerly CEO of budget airline Vueling, Cruz took over as boss of British Airways in 2016, replacing Keith Williams. To read our interview with Alex Cruz shortly after he assumed the role, see:

New British Airways boss denies he will “Ryanair-ise” airline

Other senior management changes alongside Cruz stepping down include:

  • Donal Moriarty, currently Aer Lingus’ chief corporate affairs officer, will become interim chief executive. A permanent appointment will be announced in due course.
  • Fernando Candela, chief executive of Level, is joining the Group’s management committee in a new role of chief transformation officer.

The news comes less than a month after Willie Walsh stepped down as CEO of the International Airlines Group – a move that was itself delayed by several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Willie Walsh resets IAG retirement date for September

Commenting on the announcement IAG’s new CEO Luis Gallego said:

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Fernando Candela, who has more than 25 years of experience in aviation and excelled at both Iberia Express and LEVEL, joins our management committee in the new chief transformation officer role. He will coordinate change across the Group, focusing on creating a company fit for a different future and ready to take advantage of new opportunities. In the short term, he will also remain chief executive of LEVEL until a replacement is appointed.

“As our new team comes together, we remain focused on making the right operational and strategic decisions for the long-term benefit of all IAG’s stakeholders”.