28th Feb 2013

Virgin Vs BA: The rivalry continues..

This is imageSoure in newsroom in the CMS

Two years ago American Airlines and British Airways formed an alliance which saw them garner 60% of the transatlantic market. Late last year Delta Air Lines bought a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. Since it was founded in 1984, Virgin has been locked in a rivalry with BA. Before Virgin came on the scene BA was the only UK airline serving long haul routes in North America. The rivalry shows no signs of waning with ex-American Airlines exec Craig Kreeger – who worked on the controversial partnership with BA – taking over as CEO of Virgin Atlantic.

Kreeger said of Virgin “It is a great airline renowned for its customer service and innovation. I have been competing with it for many years but have always admired its laser focus on its people, its products and its customers.”

Kreeger has spent most of his working life with American Airlines. He joined the company in 1985 and has held various management roles until his move to Virgin Atlantic this year. He succeeds Steve Ridgway who retired, having been CEO for 11 years.

The president and founder of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson commented on Kreeger’s appointment “We are thrilled to welcome Craig to Virgin Atlantic. He is the right person to succeed Steve Ridgway at this dynamic and challenging time for our airline. We believe Craig has the experience and passion to drive Virgin Atlantic forward and capitalize on the opportunities created by our new venture with Delta.” Branson is confident that Kreeger is the right person guide Virgin through this new phase.

So, the stakes are high. All eyes are on Kreeger as he takes on the job of pushing the company in the right direction.

At this point, Kreeger has been in the role a few weeks, so it is an opportune time for reflection. At First100 we recommend the use of milestone reviews at regular intervals, in order to maintain momentum, and keep oneself on track for a successful first 100 days. No doubt Kreeger started his new role with a first 100 days plan, including desired outcomes and a guide map on how to achieve these aims. With the benefit of increased familiarity of the company culture and structure, Kreeger is now well-placed to look at this plan, and his progress with fresh eyes. Reviews of progress are vital. Kreeger needs to assess if he and his team are where he wants them to be, and he needs to take stock of what is and isn’t working. Knowing where he is and what he has achieved will help him to maintain focus, and continued performance acceleration during his first 100 days.

Hilda Goold

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