Here’s yet another interesting management shift at a major airline (I feel like we’ve seen an unusual number of these lately).
Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer Resigned In May
In May 2019, Thierry Antinori resigned as Emirates’ EVP and Chief Commercial Officer. The abruptness of his departure caught a lot of us off guard.
For those of you not familiar with Antinori, he has been in the airline industry for over 30 years. He was at Emirates since 2011. Prior to that he had senior positions at both Air France and Lufthansa.
For what it’s worth, Antinori claimed that in 2016 he was offered the role of CEO of Air France-KLM, but chose to stay at Emirates instead.
So I’ve been wondering what was behind his sudden departure:
- Was he butting heads with other top leaders at Emirates?
- Was he hoping for the CEO position at Emirates, and just felt like Tim Clark wouldn’t ever resign?
- Did he have another opportunity elsewhere?
Well, we now have a better sense of the answer… maybe.
Antinori Joins Qatar Airways
Well, it looks like Antinori is staying in the region, and has a new position.
Antinori has just been appointed Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Qatar Airways. There’s no official press release about this from Qatar Airways, though it is being widely reported in the media.
There’s quite a bit that’s noteworthy about this development.
First of all, given the Qatar blockade, it sure is noteworthy to see an executive leave Emirates for Qatar.
Next, this is at best a lateral job move, and arguably a downgrade. This leads me to believe he didn’t leave Emirates because he had a better opportunity, but rather likely was forced out, and then Qatar Airways ended up hiring him. Furthermore, it’s unlikely he’ll be looked at for the CEO position at Qatar Airways anytime soon, since I think it’s unlikely Al Baker will ever retire.
Most interestingly, though, I’ve known quite a few people working in Qatar Airways management over the years. Based on everything I’ve heard Al Baker micromanages everything to an unprecedented degree. That means that basically no one is empowered to make decisions. Based on that:
- It sure seems really unpleasant to move from Emirates to Qatar Airways
- I’m shocked Al Baker would appoint anyone with the title that has “transformation” in it, since he’s constantly trying to convince people that everything at Qatar Airways is amazing and couldn’t possibly be better; what is there to transform when you have perfection? 😉
I’ll be curious to see what comes of this…