oneworld has today named industry veteran Rob Gurney as its new chief executive.
He succeeds Bruce Ashby, who announced in January that he would be stepping down from the role this summer after more than five years in the position.
Gurney will join oneworld in October after leaving Gulf carrier Emirates, where he served as senior vice president commercial operations, Americas.
He has substantial experience of airline alliances with much of his 25-year career in the industry spent with oneworld founding members British Airways and Qantas.
For four years until 2012, he was the Australian carrier’s group executive commercial, with responsibilities for global sales and marketing including alliance relationships, which saw him serving as Qantas’ representative on the oneworld management team, working closely with all oneworld’s member airlines.
As oneworld chief executive, he will report to the alliance’s governing board, comprising the chief executive of all member airlines, and lead the central alliance team, which is based in New York.
Announcing the appointment, oneworld governing board chairman Ivan Chu, chief executive of Cathay Pacific, said: “Bruce Ashby leaves big shoes to fill – and, in Rob Gurney, oneworld has appointed someone well able to do so.
“He takes on the role of oneworld chief executive with a proven track record of successful leadership in key alliance and broader commercial roles within both the oneworld family and beyond, with all the attributes needed to lead the world’s most highly prized global alliance through the next phase of our development.”
Gurney said: “In many ways, this move feels like coming home. I look forward to working once again with oneworld’s stable of best-in-class carriers from each region to build further on oneworld’s position as the best alliance in the skies.”
Gurney joined oneworld founding partner British Airways in 1993, working in commercial roles in Australia, New Zealand and the airline’s London headquarters, where he project managed its first code-sharing partnership with Qantas.
In 1997, he switched to Qantas, working in various commercial roles in the airline’s Sydney headquarters, including revenue management, marketing and distribution.
Rob Gurney has dual UK and Australian citizenship.