British Airways will lose both its Chief Operations Officer and Director of People in a management shakeup that follows last year’s expensive and embarrassing industrial dispute between the airline and its pilots. The news of the high-profile departures comes just over a month after the head of BA’s parent company announced plans to retire from the business.
According to the airline, Chief Operating Officer Klaus Goersch has decided to move back to North America where he previously held the same position at Air Canada before joining British Airways in 2017. Director of People, Angela Williams, left a similar role at the world’s largest facilities management company in 2018 to join BA but will leave the company in the next few months.
In an emailed statement, British Airways explained the reasons behind the shakeup, saying: “We have made some changes in our leadership team to put us in the best possible position to deliver the next phase of our £6.5 billion customer investment, and to meet the challenges of the digital economy and changing customer needs,”
British Airways Chief Executive, Alex Cruz is expected to remain in his post.
The departure of BA’s COO and Director of People at the same time could be purely coincidental but that hasn’t stopped speculation that the resignations are connected with last year’s pilots strike.
The industrial dispute is estimated to have cost €137 million after a two-day pilots strike last summer resulted in the cancellation of 2,325 flights. It was the first walkout called by pilots at the airline in over 40-years.
During the drawn-out negotiations, Willie Walsh the chief executive of parent company IAG seemed to make a public dig at BA’s senior management team involved in the negotiations saying “there was a deal to be done”.
IAG warned operational profits for the year could be as much as €215 million lower than 2018, in large part because of the industrial dispute. IAG is expected to announce its financial results on February 28.
On her arrival at British Airways, Williams said she was looking forward to building “an environment where every member of the team is engaged.”
“My focus will be to work with the whole organisation and create an environment where everyone plays a key role, where everyone has the opportunity to grow, flourish and achieve their potential.”
William has not commented on whether she had been able to make that vision a reality.
British Airways’ former director of engineering Jason Mahoney will be appointed the airline’s new COO, while Stuart Kennedy who was previously Director of People at IAG’s cargo division will replace Williams.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.