Earlier today, it was announced that Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, will step down by June 30th, 2020, and he will be leaving the board by March 26, 2020. IAG is the parent company of major carriers British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. Walsh previously mentioned that he wanted to retire by the time he turns 60, and, at 58, this news was not a surprise.
Walsh started out as CEO of Aer Lingus in 2001, and he later became CEO of British Airways in 2005, then IAG in 2011. He played a major role in keeping IAG competitive with the rise of low-cost carriers, which have been taking business from the flag carriers. This decision, although it has generated issues with passengers, has kept IAG profitable while many other flag carriers have been struggling.
Luis Gallego, CEO of Iberia, will be replacing Walsh. He worked at Vueling, and later became CEO of Iberia Express and eventually Iberia in 2013. This decision came as a surprise to many as British Airways is considered the dominant airline in the company, and Walsh was British Airways CEO before being promoted. Many predicted that Alex Cruz would be the replacement for Walsh. It is likely that, because of some of the controversies that British Airways has experienced, it was a better move to keep Cruz as CEO of British.