British Airways parent company IAG has announced that Rafael Sanchez Lozano, CEO of Spanish airline Iberia, will be leaving his post with immediate effect and by mutual agreement.
CEO of Iberia since July 2009, Sanchez Lozano has struggled to turn-around loss making Iberia and has been in almost continual battle with Spanish trade unions over job losses which management feel are critical for the future of the airline but which unions claim go way too far. While the unions have accepted the need for some restructuring, and associated job losses, they have flatly rejected the attempt by Sanchez Lozano, together with IAG boss Willie Walsh, to axe over 3000 positions.
Although Iberia’s unions won’t be sad to see him leave, they should perhaps be equally worried that his replacement, Luis Gallego, currently heads the airline’s low cost unit, Iberia Express, having previously been CEO of Vueling, another low-cost Spanish carrier – which IAG is trying to takeover. It seems unlikely that Gallego will differ much in his plans to lay-off a significant number of workers although his management style may be more acceptable to the unions (in much the same way that current CEO of British Airways, Keith Williams, has a less confrontational relationship with unions in the UK). Iberia Express was established in 2012 to take on the likes of easyjet and ryanair and staff at the airline work on less generous terms than its parent company; it also makes a profit. The irony is that British Airways tried the same thing with Go, but decided that it would never really work and sold the low-cost carrier to easyjet!
In other news, the Australian Trade commission has approved the new tie-up between Qantas & Emirates which we reported on here.