IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, who had been due to stand down in March and retire in June, has agreed to delay his retirement to ensure “management stability” across the airline group, which owns British Airways.
In turn, Walsh’s successor, Iberia chief executive Luis Gallego, will continue in his role “to lead IAG’s response in Spain” where the coronavirus has worsened severely in recent days, prompting the Foreign Office to advise against all but essential travel.
The group made the announcements in a trading update issued on Monday morning (16 March) detailing the group’s response to the coronavirus crisis, which includes cutting capacity across the group by 75% during April and May.
“In light of the exceptional circumstances facing the aviation industry due to Covid-19, and in particular the developing situation in Spain, it has been decided Luis Gallego will continue in his role as Iberia chief executive for the next few months to lead the response in Spain,” said IAG in a statement.
“In the meantime, Willie Walsh will continue to act as group chief executive and Javier Sanchez will remain in place as Vueling chief executive.”
Of Walsh, IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez added: “As we respond to Covid-19, Willie, Luis and the board of IAG have decided management stability across the group should be a priority in the near term. We are grateful Willie has agreed to delay his retirement for a short period at this challenging time.”