Alex Cruz named CEO of the new Vueling
Alex Cruz is to be the chief executive officer of the new airline that is being created through the merger of Spain's low-fare carriers clickair and Vueling, the Board of Directors of both companies have determined.
clickair's Board formally approved the decision on Wednesday 18th following agreement from the Vueling Board on February 13th. Josep Pique, who served as Spanish Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2002 and is the chairman of Vueling under its current ownership structure, will continue the role in the new Vueling as non-executive chairman.
The confirmation of these two senior appointments signals a major step forward in the legal and corporate formalisation of the merger, which received approval for European Union competition authorities in early January. The next step will be the naming of the new executive management team, expected to be announced shortly.
Under the terms of the merger agreement signed by the Boards of Vueling and clickair, Iberia, which currently owns a 20% stake in clickair, is set to take between a 40% and 45% holding in the new Vueling.
Nefinsa, owner of regional Spanish airline Air Nostrum, and also a clickair partner, will take up to a 5% ownership. Vueling's current major shareholder Inversiones Hemisferio, which currently holds 28% of the company is expected to retain ownership of approximately 15%. The remainder of the shares will be publicly traded on the stock market.
Alex Cruz has been at the helm of clickair since the company was formed in May 2006. clickair commenced revenue flights in October that year. He started his airline career nearly 20 years ago with American Airlines in Dallas and has held senior roles with Sabre and was formerly European partner-director of the commercial aviation practice of Accenture. Cruz, 43, is a native of Bilbao, in Northern Spain. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering and information systems from the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.
Josep Piqué, 53, is a native of the coastal town of Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona). He has a long and distinguished career in public service, business and civic organisations. He served on three occasions as a Government Minister, being responsible, among others, for the key post of foreign affairs in the early 2000s. He has also been CEO and board member of leading Spanish corporations, as well as an active participant in public socio-economic debate through several prestigious business organizations and think-tanks.
clickair and Vueling signed a Memorandum of Understanding to operate under the Vueling brand and remain headquartered in Barcelona last summer having agreed to join forces earlier last year to better tackle competition in the Spanish and ‘Euro-Mediterranean' markets.