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Wed, 25 November 2020

Leadership Changes at IATA

The leadership changes proposed at the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) have been approved.

- Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue is now the Chair of the IATA Board of Governors, succeeding Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa. Hayes will serve a term commencing immediately and ending at the conclusion of the Associations 78th Annual General Meeting to be held in 2022. Hayes will serve an extended term as Chair covering two AGMs due the disruption to governance cycles necessitated by the COVID19 crisis.

- Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS Group will serve as Chairman of the Board of Governors from the conclusion of the 78th IATA AGM in 2022 until the conclusion of the 79th AGM in 2023, following Hayes term.

- Willie Walsh, former CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) will become IATAs 8th Director General from 1 April 2021. He will succeed Alexandre de Juniac, who has led IATA since 2016 and who will step down from IATA at the end of March 2021.

Aircraft flying overhead. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

I am pleased to be ending my term as Chair of the IATA Board of Governors with strong leadership in place to see IATA through the crisis and lead the industry towards recovery, said Spohr. I thank all the members of the Board of Governors and Alexandre for their support over the 18 months that I have served as Board of Governors Chairparticularly during the crisis period. That support enabled extraordinary efforts by IATA during the crisis. Those efforts have made our association even more relevant. With todays leadership announcements we can be assured that IATA remains in good hands. Robin will be a strong leader for the Board of Governors. I am confident that Alexandre will continue to be an authoritative voice for the industry as he completes his term as Director General and CEO. And Willie will take up the mantle from April with the fierce leadership determination for which he is well-known.

Hayes was named president of JetBlue in 2014 and appointed CEO in 2015, a position that also encompasses subsidiaries JetBlue Technology Ventures and JetBlue Travel Products. He joined JetBlue in 2008 as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer after a 19-year career with British Airways.

The expectations for IATAs leadership are high, said Hayes. Managing through the crisis is, of course, at the top of the agenda. We must safely re-open borders and build back the vital global connectivity that has been lost in this crisis. There is a great expectation for aviations role in the global distribution of a vaccines when they are ready. Safely re-starting large parts of the industry after months of being grounded is a challenge that will require IATA to work with governments globally. And, in additional COVID19 related work, we have a clear mandate to meet our 2050 goal to cut net aviation emissions to half 2005 levels; and to explore pathways to net zero globally. I look forward to driving these priorities forward with the support of Alexandre, Willie, the Board of Governors and all our members.

Walsh has served as CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG) from its creation under his leadership in 2011 until 2020, CEO of British Airways as CEO (2005-2011) and CEO of Aer Lingus (2001-2005) after a career at that airline and its associated companies which began as a pilot cadet in 1979. Walsh is very familiar with IATA having served on its Board of Governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including as Chair (2016-2017).

I am honored by the confidence placed in me to take on the responsibilities of IATA Director General, said Walsh. Associations play a critical role in our industry and none is more important than IATA. It must be a forceful advocate for the industrymoving forward crisis recovery priorities, ensuring sustainability and helping airlines to survive by lowering costs, reducing taxes and eliminating regulatory blockers to success. Many of IATAs services are essential for airlines to do business, including the settlement systems which in normal times handle about half the industrys revenueover $400 billion a year. And IATAs industry standards are essential for safe and efficient global operations. The job of IATA Director General comes with great responsibility for an industry that is critical to the economic and  social wellbeing of the world. I look forward to continuing the transformation started by Alexandre, making IATA an even more effective association that meets the needs of its members and exceeds their expectations.

Alexandre de Juniac, said, These next months will be critical. There is much work to be done to re-open borders with testing. And we are making preparations for the eventual global distribution of vaccines. I look forward to working with Robin to move as far as we can on these and other critical IATA projects before handing over to Willie during March. In the meantime, I congratulate Willie on his appointment, and I thank Carsten and the other Board members for their support during my time at IATA.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, IATA.

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