Seriously, where is Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways?
Other than an internal memo sent to British Airways staff around 2 weeks ago, he’s been completely silent. Well, apart from a generic cut/paste “dear customer” email a couple of weeks ago, with a jpeg of his signature at the bottom. I’m willing to bet that didn’t come from him per-se.
A source at the airline has told me that its been similar for them too. Other than daily updates from their fleet managers, Alex Cruz himself has remained totally silent. Their exact words to me were:
We have no idea what’s going to happen.
I’m sure he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment. But so have other airlines CEO’s. Yet Carsten Spohr of Lufthansa has been providing updates on an almost daily basis. Admittedly, he’s painting a bit of a grim picture for his airline, but at least he’s being honest. Likewise for Ed Bastian over at Delta. Those are just two off the top of my head. There will likely be others too.
Yesterday, (20th March), the FT reported that British Airways pilots will be having to take a pay cut of up to 50%. IAG group CEO on the other hand will be taking a 20% pay cut until June. Alex Cruz will presumably taking 0%.
Shocking, as when logging on to the FT this morning to retrieve the article, the leading story was that the UK government is looking into buying into airlines. And the header pic was the famous red white and blue tails of the British Airways planes. At least initially. The header picture has since been changed to a pair of Virgin Atlantic tails.
So essentially, the UK Taxpayer will be paying Alex Cruz’ salary then?
Maybe not. The same source has informed me that Willie Walsh has flat out refused any government intervention as it will look bad to IAG’s shareholders.
I know the guy still has to make a living, like the rest of us. But I somehow doubt that he’s going to be struggling financially if he has to forgo his salary until things are back to normal. If the cabin crew, his staff, have to take unpaid leave it’s almost certain they will be much harder up.
It’s been suggested that Alex Cruz brings in a salary of £1.36million/year. Where as the airlines Mixed Fleet cabin crew start on just over £15,500/year.
Why Should Alex Cruz Forgo His Salary?
Of course, Alex Cruz is under no obligation to give up any of his salary. He’s the man in charge, and he will no doubt be working harder than anyone at the airline to steer them through this difficult period. Ultimately, it will be his decisions over the coming weeks that will determine whether the airline fails or succeeds. Although I would like to think that if he makes too many wrong decisions, those higher up at IAG will step in.
However, the CEO’s at United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Qantas, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, Heathrow Airport among others have all taken 100% pay cuts. They recognise that cash will be almost impossible to come by over the coming months. And presumably the CEO of the company will be the highest paid. Therefore, that’s an instant saving for the company.
Maybe he knows that the airline is doomed to fail and he is simply stockpiling enough cash to see him through once the inevitable happens? Although I very much doubt that is the case.
Lets Give Him The Benefit Of The Doubt
During previous issues at the airline, Cruz has been absent from the public eye for the most part. He is clearly taking a similar approach this time around too. Therefore it’s probably safe to assume that he is a somewhat private person. Instead of making press conferences at every given opportunity, perhaps he prefers to simply keep his head down and get on with it?
His Twitter account certainly suggests this theory. Of all the airline CEO’s on the site, he’s defiantly one of the less active.
So what’s to say that he hasn’t given up a portion of his yearly salary, and just hasn’t communicated it? Instead focusing on guiding the ship through the stormy seas.
Even so, at least give some form of update to your staff Alex. As it stands, it would appear they are completely in the dark. Even if it’s to say that you don’t know what is going on yourself, but you will keep them informed.
Remember, without them, you will most definitely be taking a 100% pay cut…