Head of British Airways parent IAG to step down

Willie Walsh will be replaced by Luis Gallego, who currently heads Spain’s Iberia which merged in 2011 to form IAG

The head of British Airways’ parent firm IAG, Willie Walsh, is to step down from his role after 15 years.

Walsh will be replaced by Luis Gallego, who currently heads Spain’s Iberia, which merged with BA under Walsh’s leadership in 2011 to form IAG.

Walsh has stated in November that succession planning was under way as he intended to retire as chief executive in the next two years. Gallego has been CEO of Iberia since 2014.

IAG chairman, Antonio Vázquez said Mr Walsh was “the main driver of this unique idea that is IAG”.

“Under his leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups,” he said.

IAG said that Walsh would step down from his role and the board of IAG in March before retiring on June 30.

Walsh began his career as a pilot with Irish airline Aer Lingus in 1979, then becoming its chief executive in 2001. He joined BA as chief executive in 2005.

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Walsh said: "It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG."

Gallego’s replacement at Iberia will be announced in due course, IAG said.

IAG is currently in the process of a €1bn deal to buy Spain’s Air Europa. In October it warned that industrial action by BA pilots, together with other disruption, hit profits by €155m (£132m $172m) in the third quarter of 2019.

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