British Airways CEO shakes up executive team as airline struggles to meet surging travel demand

The CEO of British Airways is shaking up his executive team, making new appointments in operations, technology, and customer services.

The airline is bringing in Dirk John, who has worked at McKinsey, Latam Airlines, and Lufthansa, as its new chief digital and transformation officer. Calum Laming will be the airline’s new chief customer officer, and Jason Mahoney will be its chief technical officer. A fourth person will be hired to take responsibility for general operations.

“We’re navigating an extremely challenging period as we rebuild following the global pandemic, and therefore we’ve created four new roles on our leadership team,” a BA spokesperson told Fortune. “Everyone at British Airways is completely focused on three priorities: our customers, supporting the biggest recruitment drive in our history, and increasing our operational resilience to deliver the best possible experience for our customers.”

The shake-up follows a tumultuous period for British Airways, in which the airline struggled with various operational problems while dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline, which has struggled to keep up with the loosening of travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic, recently announced a slew of cuts to its flight routes that will remain in place for the summer.

At the height of the pandemic, BA cut around 10,000 jobs. It later announced plans to rehire 6,000 employees, but has struggled to rehire workers fast enough to meet demand for travel owing to delays in government security screening processes, the Financial Times reported over the weekend.

BA’s flight cuts—which will amount to 8,000 return trips—came as the company grappled with a string of problems, including issues with baggage handling, employee strikes, as well as reputational damage from its handling of customer complaints.  

CEO Sean Doyle reportedly said in a recorded message to staff in March that passengers were “rightly fed up” with BA’s issues, but he added that there were no quick fixes, and likened overcoming the company’s problems to climbing “to the top of Everest.”

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