Akbar Al Bakerone of the most emblematic leaders of theairline industryresigned from his position as CEO of Qatar Airwaysafter 27 years at the head of the Qatari airline.
Akbar Al Baker’s resignation was announced to staff in an internal memo from President Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi who paid tribute to his “27 years of remarkable service“. No reason was given for this decision.
Born Qatari of Indian origin, now 61, Akbar Al Baker was appointed chief executive in 1997, three years after the launch of Qatar Airways, and was instrumental in transforming the Qatari flag carrier into a large modern airline in the Middle East, alongside its direct competitors Emirates and Etihad Airways.
The Qatari boss has often made headlines by harassing Western aviation giants Airbus and Boeing over their strategies or factory manufacturing. It most recently fought a bitter dispute with Airbus over paint damage to the surface of Qatar Airways’ long-haul A350s. He also served as Qatar’s spokesperson during the diplomatic boycott of neighboring Arab states between 2017 and 2021, and implemented a strategy to keep roads open during the pandemic to strengthen the presence of the national brand on the world stage.
It was not immediately clear whether Akbar Al Baker was stepping down from his other official roles, including those of general manager of Doha Hamad International Airport and Qatar Duty Free. Following the announcement of his resignation, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, the current director of operations at Doha airport, was appointed head of Qatar Airways by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al Thani. The new director general will take office on November 5.