Former BA Boss Alex Cruz Eyed For CEO Position At Scandinavian Airlines

Recent reporting indicates that the former head of British Airways, Alex Cruz, is among a small group of candidates being considered to take over from the outgoing CEO of SAS Airlines, Rickard Gustafson. Cruz left his position as head of British Airways in October of last year and was replaced by Sean Doyle, who was previously the CEO of Irish IAG carrier Aer Lingus.

British Airways, Job Cuts, Coronavirus
Alex Cruz had served as CEO of British Airways from April 2016 to October 2020.  Photo: British Airways

SAS searches for new CEO

It was several months ago, in January of this year, that we reported that the President and CEO of Scandinavian airline SAS, Rickard Gustafson, would be leaving the airline after more than a decade in his role.

The executive is to depart SAS by July at the latest, taking up the president and CEO position at a ball bearing manufacturer. With the news of Gustafson’s departure, SAS is left to search for his replacement to lead the airline through the ongoing crisis.

Former BA Boss Alex Cruz Eyed For CEO Position At Scandinavian Airlines
Rickard Gustafson has been leading SAS for more than 10 years. Photo: SAS

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From British Airways to SAS?

Reporting by SkyNews indicates that Alex Cruz is among the list of candidates being looked at for the chief position at SAS. The media outlet indicates that the former British Airways CEO has already been approached by the Scandinavian carrier.

While Cruz isn’t the only individual being considered, Sky News notes that the identity of other contenders is unknown. Simple Flying reached out to SAS for a comment on the news. However, at the time of publication, no response was received from the airline.

Alex Cruz became the CEO of IAG carrier British Airways in April 2016 and has overseen the carrier’s modernization- most recently taking delivery of some of its Boeing 787-10 order as well as the delivery of its first seven Airbus A350-1000s. Cruz was also CEO during BA’s celebration of its 100th anniversary- a major milestone that included repainting some of the carrier’s jets with retro liveries.

His final achievement at the airline was seeing it through some of the most challenging parts of the global health crisis during the Spring and Summer of 2020. While the crisis has yet to end fully, the first few months of the crisis presented extreme challenges for airlines and their leaders in terms of fleet management, workforce allocation, and the adaptation to an onslaught of unprecedented travel restrictions.

Former BA Boss Alex Cruz Eyed For CEO Position At Scandinavian Airlines
SAS currently has 135 aircraft in its fleet, including five Airbus A350-900s. Photo: SAS

Can Cruz handle the job?

Comparing the two airlines and their operations, it seems like Mr. Cruz should have no problem taking charge of SAS. Cruz has had over four years of experience leading British Airways and its fleet of over 250 aircraft. SAS, on the other hand, is a much smaller carrier with 135 aircraft, according to Planespotters.net.

While fleet size isn’t the only indicator of how challenging a role may be, it certainly gives us an idea of the complexity of operations. Clearly, BA has a much larger footprint and offers many more destinations than its Scandinavian counterpart.

Additionally, every company and its workforce has its own unique challenges. This could range from variations in work culture all the way to challenging labor negotiations. While there will probably be some learning curve for Cruz, the experience he’s gained throughout all of his positions within the airline industry should make him well-equipped for the job – if he’s chosen, that is.

What do you think? Would choosing Alex Cruz as the new CEO of SAS be a good call? Let us know in the comments.

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