Bob Ayling, the Chief Executive of British Airways, today announced his resignation.
Mr Ayling has been Chief Executive for the past four years. He has been with the airline for fifteen years. During his time British Airways has experienced unprecedented pressures from competitors and pioneered significant changes which flowed through the rest of the airline industry.
Mr Ayling said: “The past four years have been tough and stimulating, and I am proud of the achievements of British Airways in that time.”
He added that the demands of the past four years had taken their toll and it was time for a new chief executive to take up the challenge.
He said; “The hard work has been done and British Airways is well positioned to continue to be the leading international airline in an increasingly competitive industry. I wish to thank the people of British Airways and wish them good luck.”
British Airways was the first major airline to introduce first class sleeper beds, the first to recognise the need for global airline alliances and it established a low cost airline, Go.
Mr Ayling, 54, intends to take a break with his family before considering future career options.
“Inevitably, the pressures have affected my family and I owe it to them to take some time off and spend it with them”, he said.
The Chairman of British Airways, Lord Marshall will take on the role of Chief Executive, with the present management team reporting to him, while a successor to Mr Ayling is being sought.
Paying tribute to Mr Ayling, Lord Marshall said; “Bob Ayling has made a major contribution to this company over the last 15 years by helping to increase the efficiency of our operations and in strategically repositioning the airline since becoming Chief Executive at the beginning of 1996. The Board remains firmly committed to our present strategy.
“This has been a very challenging period for the whole of the industry which has faced fierce competition. We would therefore like to thank Bob and wish him well in the future.”