The boss of struggling Spanish carrier Iberia is stepping down with “immediate effect”.
Parent company IAG, which also owns British Airways, announced that Rafael Sanchez-Lozano was quitting as Iberia’s chief executive by “mutual agreement”. He will be replaced by Luis Gallego who is currently chief executive of Iberia’s no-frills subsidiary Iberia Express.
Loss-making Iberia is currently undergoing a major restructuring in a bid to turn around its financial fortunes. The airline earlier this month reached a deal with its unions, following the invention of a mediator appointed by the Spanish government, to end a series of damaging strikes.
Sanchez-Lozano said: “I have been proud to lead Iberia for over three years. It has been a privilege to work for such a great company.
“After reaching agreement with the mediator and the majority of our unions, we have achieved an important milestone as we restructure the airline. The company is now entering a new phase and it is time for me to pass on the baton to my successor.”
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh added: “I would like to thank Rafael for his hard work and commitment to Iberia. He has led the airline through a very difficult period in the midst of a deep recession and has completed the first important step towards returning the airline to profitability.
“Luis Gallego has extensive experience across a range of international airlines. He was instrumental as chief executive of Iberia Express in creating an airline that is a great success.”
Iberia Express was set up last year to operate short and medium-haul flights from Spain.
Gallego said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead Iberia. The airline has an enviable international network and is a leader from Europe to the powerhouse economies of South America.
“As chief executive of Iberia Express I have worked closely with Iberia and l look forward to taking the company into a new era and successful future.”
For more information visit iberia.com.
Report by Rob Gill