IAG, the holding company that owns British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, is to promote Iberia's Luis Gallego to head the whole group when Willie Walsh steps down at the end of March. Gallego has been CEO of Iberia since 2014.
Willie Walsh has been a high-profile figure in the airline industry and oversaw the merger of BA and Iberia. Walsh said this week, "It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG. I have had the pleasure of working with many exceptional people over the past 15 years at British Airways and at IAG."
The chairman and CEO positions at IAG will both now be held by Spaniards, seen by observers as a signal to Brussels, if no trade agreement were reached after Brexit between the UK and EU, that the airline views itself as EU based for open-skies flying regulations between European countries.
Gallego will oversee the merger of Iberia with Air Europa, which is awaiting regulator clearance.