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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 25 May, 2020
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Dubliner Willie Walsh is departing British Airways and IAG after 15 years as CEO

The former pilot left the top job in Aer Lingus to join British Airways.

Willie Walsh will retire at the end of June.
Willie Walsh will retire at the end of June.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

DUBLINER WILLIE WALSH, who became a pilot before rising through the ranks to lead Aer Lingus and then British Airways, is to retire as CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG). 

Walsh oversaw the creation of IAG with the merger of British Airways and Spanish national carrier Iberia in 2010, becoming chief executive of the resulting company.

IAG then bought out the Irish government’s stake in Aer Lingus in 2015 with Walsh the man who spearheaded the successful approach. 

His hugely successful career in aviation saw him become one of the foremost figures in the Irish business world. 

Walsh, who joined British Airways as chief executive in 2005 at the age of 43, confirmed this morning that he is departing the company.  

IAG described his departure as a retirement from the company and Walsh gave no indication of his future intentions. 

“It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG. I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG,” he said.

Luis Gallego, the current chief executive of Iberia, is to take over the role of CEO of parent-company IAG.

The company has set out a six-month timeline for Walsh’s departure with a plan to stand down from the board on 26 March followed by his retirement on 30 June. 

“I am deeply respectful of what he has achieved as CEO of this Group, of his sense of fairness, his transparency and his capacity to integrate people regardless of nationalities or backgrounds,”  IAG chairman Antonio Vázquez said this morning.

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Rónán Duffy

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