Akbar Al Baker resigns as chief executive of Qatar Airways, marking the sudden end of one of aviation’s longest managerial reigns.
The CEO, who has led the airline since 1997, will resign on November 5. The move was unexpected and Qatar Airways gave no reason for its departure. The airline announced that he would be replaced by Badr Mohammed Al Meer, chief operating officer of Doha’s Hamad Airport, which serves as the airline’s base.
Known as one of the industry’s most influential executives, Al Baker is widely credited with transforming Qatar Airways into one of the world’s largest airlines. During his 27-year tenure, he oversaw aggressive expansion and investment in Doha Airport, which is now an established global hub.
It was not immediately clear whether Al Baker would also immediately step down from other positions, including general manager of Hamad International Airport and Qatar Duty Free.
Al Baker has often sparked controversy with his outspoken opinions on the airline industry. In June, he publicly stated that the industry’s net-zero emissions targets were a “PR exercise” and predicted they would not be met.