IAG’s Chief Executive Willie Walsh finally stepped down last week following the AGM. His departure had been delayed from March as he attempted to deal with serious staff unrest following the closure of its Gatwick operation for the whole of the summer, threatening the London City services, and making massive redundancies.
It was not a glorious farewell although he cannot be blamed for the situation the Group finds itself due to Covid-19. He is replaced by Luis Gallego.
“It is the worst crisis we have ever faced, far worse than both 9/11 and the financial crash in 2008,” he told the Annual General Meeting last week. He was awarded an £883,000 bonus, taking his pay for 2019 to £3.2m.
With getting on for nearly 30% of shareholders voting against this bonus the rebellion was large enough for IAG to be included in the Investment Association's 'named and shamed' list of companies that have received a no-vote of 20% or more. Ian Hislop of Private Eye researched that Walsh had taken £33m from the company over the years. A win for HMRC.
Walsh said that the coronavirus pandemic had “decimated” the aviation industry.
“We are having to recalibrate everything we do as we anticipate that it will take until at least 2023 or 2024 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels.'
IAG, whose airlines include Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus as well as British Airways, was “disappointed” by the pay revolt.
“The board will continue to engage with shareholders to fully understand their concerns,” it said. BA passenger numbers were 98% lower between April and June than in the same period last year.
Also see in this week's BTN:
COMMENT: Willie Walsh’s late departure Alex Cruz goes live Luis Gallego starts at Waterside More funds for airlines