Ex-Aer Lingus head to be BA chief executive

British Airways has appointed former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh as chief executive-designate, to replace departing chief executive Rod Eddington.

The decision ends weeks of speculation over Eddington’s replacement, with mooted candidates including the airline’s top marketer Martin George. Commercial director George was touted by insiders as one of two internal candidates – alongside finance director John Rishton – for the job. Observers say George, 42, may have been considered too young for the position. However, Walsh himself is only 43. He joined Aer Lingus as a cadet pilot in 1979 and rose to chief operating officer in 2000.

Walsh became chief executive following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and resigned in November after the state-owned airline rejected proposals for a management buyout.

Eddington joined BA in May 2000 and will retire at the end of September. During his tenure he has overseen a cost-cutting programme that has claimed 14,000 jobs. He is due to present a two-year business strategy to investors this week.

BA has weathered a number of crises under Eddington, including the rise of no-frills airlines, the economic slump, the fear of terrorism and war in the Gulf. The airline’s image has also been damaged by strikes in the past two summers.

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    Subscribers get unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing and world-renowned columnists, alongside carefully curated reports and briefings from Econsultancy. Find out more.

    If you are an existing print subscriber find out how you can get access here.

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers get unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing and world-renowned columnists, alongside carefully curated reports and briefings from Econsultancy. Find out more.

    If you are an existing print subscriber find out how you can get access here.

    Subscribe now