Willie Walsh lasting legacy

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  • JohnnyG
    Participant

    With today being said leaders last day, what are forums thoughts on his lasting legacy of 15 years at the helm. Pandemic aside, cost cutting has taken place at a rate of knots, the ‘World’s favourite airline’ moniker has long gone, staff are more disillusioned than ever before, standards in all classes have plummeted, non London bases or routes have been abandoned. In addition IT services etc have been outsourced to a detrimental effect on the business

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    SimonS1
    Participant

    With today being said leaders last day, what are forums thoughts on his lasting legacy of 15 years at the helm. Pandemic aside, cost cutting has taken place at a rate of knots, the ‘World’s favourite airline’ moniker has long gone, staff are more disillusioned than ever before, standards in all classes have plummeted, non London bases or routes have been abandoned. In addition IT services etc have been outsourced to a detrimental effect on the business

    Exactly the same to the bitter end. Screwing the staff into lower packages due to “the worst crisis we have ever faced, far worse than both 9/11 and the financial crash in 2008”.

    But nevertheless keeping his own £883,000 bonus despite 30% of shareholders voting against.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    FrDougal
    Participant

    If Pol Pot was an airline CEO!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    It’s too late, sadly, but I would bring back Lord King and Colin Marshall. I got the hump with Ayling when he started painting the planes in funny colours, but Walsh has been unique.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    He’ll be lauded in the city as a success , his peer group will arguably look on in envy and there’s pretty much where it ends .
    His tenure in charge of BA & IAG has coincided with some turbulent (Very) times in the industry, especially for legacy so called flag carriers caught between a buoyant Ryanair & an Emirates behemoth
    And BA is still flying unlike many others , but his business philosophy and decisions that drive it, truly belong to a different era
    The only loyalty he can probably count on is his wife and his Labrador

    One things guaranteed, similar to when his fellow Irishman Alex Hurricane Higgins retired from snooker, the airline industry is definitely going be a quieter place !

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    He has done an excellent job. “World’s favourite” has no meaning in a business environment. He will soon leave a business that has progressed dramatically, and is now on a sound financial footing.

    Yes, there have been job cuts, and removal of legacy salaries, benefits & perks, so staff are disappointed. However, the reality is that the vast majority of travellers, business or leisure, either do not need, or cannot afford, to pay for the service levels that they dream of.

    On intercontinental travel I almost always fly business class, whichever airline. Mostly I travel to either HK / China or USA. For SE Asia I repeatedly read about the standards of the ME3 carriers, but you have to stop and change in the ME. To me, that is a backwards step to what I was having to do in the 80’s & 90’s. Non-stop 12 hours on a lie flat bed is always preferable to a luxurious suite and stopping half way. I only want a G&T, some OK food and a glass or two of wine. Arrivals lounge in LHR means I don’t need a breakfast.

    Overall WW’s legacy is a strong group of airline’s that generally match expectations of both shareholders and customers. Employees also need to be satisfied. All parties need to be reasonably happy, and all can vote with their feet.

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    transtraxman
    Participant

    Maybe he could have done better. That will be seen most likely down the line.

    My immediate impression is that Willie Walsh is credited with more than he deserves. It is true that he got Aer Lingus to join IAG. Nothing less should be expected since he was previously the COE of the same airline and he had built up contacts with the Irish Government – the main shareholders in the airline. If that had fallen through he would have been out. The rest of his attempts to expand IAG have not been as successful. Norwegian fell through his grasp and is now a basket case. The offer for Air Europa in November 2019 was excessive at Euros1000 million and even the half price offered now is still too expensive.

    The great failure of IAG is the relationship with the employees, which does not bode well for the future.the whole strategy of IAG has been directed towards the Americas, both north and south.This is now shown to be very vulnerable to events across the Atlantic out of control of the airline. However, this effects IAG greatly. Apart from this Vueling is concentrated on its flights to and from North West to South West Europe. Even the so called desire to make an influence in the French and Italian domestic markets has not had a significant effect. In my view this has been quite a parochial approach.

    The areas of Northern, Eastern and South Eastern Europe are poorly served.This means the new CEO has to make an impact as soon as possible in those areas. Even the idea of immitating Norwegian with low-cost long-haul flights has been quietly put to bed with the effective closing down of LEVEL. This can and should be an airline to fly out of all sorts of European cities (but not in direct competition with other IAG airlines). But we have no such vision.

    I would say that the legacy of WW is poor vision for the future, and no legacy to build on, with an awful lot to be repaired.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    It’s too late, sadly, but I would bring back Lord King and Colin Marshall. I got the hump with Ayling when he started painting the planes in funny colours, but Walsh has been unique.

    I would add that I was a huge spender on BA in the 90’s and early 00’s, Premier Card until I sent it back to Ayling with a big raspberry attached. I drifted quite quickly to the F cabins of other carriers as they were intent on enhancing and improving the customer experience whilst BA slowly sliced away at it.

    My position is not one of a shareholder, as I never was; they may have had a good ride under Walsh. But as a passenger, my sense is that he made BA a less enticing option when compared with his main competitors.

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    K1ngston
    Participant

    Question as not reported here, does the other bod (name escapes me) who is CEO of BA going or will he go upstairs and they will get someone else??


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Maybe he could have done better. That will be seen most likely down the line.

    My immediate impression is that Willie Walsh is credited with more than he deserves. It is true that he got Aer Lingus to join IAG. Nothing less should be expected since he was previously the COE of the same airline and he had built up contacts with the Irish Government – the main shareholders in the airline. If that had fallen through he would have been out. The rest of his attempts to expand IAG have not been as successful. Norwegian fell through his grasp and is now a basket case. The offer for Air Europa in November 2019 was excessive at Euros1000 million and even the half price offered now is still too expensive.

    The great failure of IAG is the relationship with the employees, which does not bode well for the future.the whole strategy of IAG has been directed towards the Americas, both north and south.This is now shown to be very vulnerable to events across the Atlantic out of control of the airline. However, this effects IAG greatly. Apart from this Vueling is concentrated on its flights to and from North West to South West Europe. Even the so called desire to make an influence in the French and Italian domestic markets has not had a significant effect. In my view this has been quite a parochial approach.

    The areas of Northern, Eastern and South Eastern Europe are poorly served.This means the new CEO has to make an impact as soon as possible in those areas. Even the idea of immitating Norwegian with low-cost long-haul flights has been quietly put to bed with the effective closing down of LEVEL. This can and should be an airline to fly out of all sorts of European cities (but not in direct competition with other IAG airlines). But we have no such vision.

    I would say that the legacy of WW is poor vision for the future, and no legacy to build on, with an awful lot to be repaired.

    I agree fully but would add to your first line of para 2 …………………..and its customers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tramor01
    Participant

    Luis Gallego is apparently taking over as CEO of IAG. He was Chairman and CEO of Iberia
    I gather his background is LCC the same as Cruz, which doesn’t bode well for the future of customer service within BA in my opinion

    Willie Walsh Has Retired & Luis Gallego Taken Over IAG

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    He has done an excellent job. “World’s favourite” has no meaning in a business environment. He will soon leave a business that has progressed dramatically, and is now on a sound financial footing.

    Yes, there have been job cuts, and removal of legacy salaries, benefits & perks, so staff are disappointed. However, the reality is that the vast majority of travellers, business or leisure, either do not need, or cannot afford, to pay for the service levels that they dream of.

    On intercontinental travel I almost always fly business class, whichever airline. Mostly I travel to either HK / China or USA. For SE Asia I repeatedly read about the standards of the ME3 carriers, but you have to stop and change in the ME. To me, that is a backwards step to what I was having to do in the 80’s & 90’s. Non-stop 12 hours on a lie flat bed is always preferable to a luxurious suite and stopping half way. I only want a G&T, some OK food and a glass or two of wine. Arrivals lounge in LHR means I don’t need a breakfast.

    Overall WW’s legacy is a strong group of airline’s that generally match expectations of both shareholders and customers. Employees also need to be satisfied. All parties need to be reasonably happy, and all can vote with their feet.

    A lot of truth there to be honest. WW created value by acquiring other airlines like Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling and taking out costs/economies of scale.

    From a shareholder perspective there has been some decent upside, certainly if you got out at the start of 2020.

    From a travel perspective BA is my last resort – for me long haul is all ME3, and short haul mainly Easyjet. The exception is the FFP which works really well – you can generally retain Oneworld status quite easily without ever setting foot on a BA aircraft.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    Inquisitive
    Participant

    The data indicates that Willie Walsh brought BA out of its financial difficulties to a profitable company. So som credit is to be given.
    He might have annoyed some employees but that happens in almost all companies.

    And legacy? Nobody bothers about that anymore. He will be forgotten by everybody within an year. Just look the CEO of large companies including TOP 10 in the last 10-15 years, those had very Long term CEO at helm. Many articles used to come out about what will be their legacy, within an year no one taking about them anymore.

    Even business school case studies hardly discussed legacy of CEO in the context of success or failure of the company.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Charley Whiskey
    Participant

    Quote from Canucklad: “The only loyalty he can probably count on is his wife and his Labrador”.

    Quote from This is Money, 12th January 2020: “Walsh is divorced from former wife Caragh, and sold £3.5 million worth of shares last year to help cover the settlement.”

    Hope the Labrador is holding up ……

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Ah,Mr.Bond
    Participant

    Hope he sleeps well with his disgraceful bonus.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
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