British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has stepped down, effective immediately, and will be replaced by Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle.

Both carriers are owned by the International Airlines Group (IAG) conglomerate, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Level.

The move comes one month after Luis Gallego became IAG's CEO, replacing the retiring Willie Walsh. Cruz had run British Airways since 2016.

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"We're navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry, and I'm confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position," Gallego said in a prepared statement.

Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle, seen here in a 2019 photo, is taking the reins at British Airways.
Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle, seen here in a 2019 photo, is taking the reins at British Airways.

The replacement of Cruz occurs as the carrier is planning to let go of up to 13,000 employees and as negotiations with unions have been rancorous, though an agreement has been reached between British Airways and the British Airline Pilots' Association.

Cruz especially angered employees with an earlier plan to fire and then rehire staff, though that is now off the table.

Doyle has been the Aer Lingus CEO since January 2019. Donal Moriarty, currently the airline's chief corporate affairs officer, will become interim chief executive at Aer Lingus until a permanent replacement is selected.

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