Alez Cruz, CEO & Chairman of British Airways
Alex Cruz, CEO & Chairman of British Airways Visits St Dominic's
Frank Cummings, Teacher of Business Studies wrote.......Alex Cruz, CEO & Chairman of British Airways, very kindly took time out of his busy schedule yesterday to help St Dominic’s celebrate its 40th anniversary by giving a lecture in the Chapel. He was well received by an audience of both A level and Btec Business students, who very much appreciated the effort he made to visit the College.
Alex is a popular speaker who has given an annual talk for the last three years. His wide-ranging lecture covered the history of his company, 100 years old this year, through the growth of international travel to the current rise of environmental concerns. He also provided an insight into British Airways 100 year celebrations which included a visit by the Queen to the head offices of the national flag carrier. A key part of the talk was a discussion of the changes expected in the next hundred years of air travel and how he thought the industry would develop. In a link with jobs in design, operations, marketing and finance Alex described the futuristic designs for seats and airplanes which empathised personal choice and flexibility.
It was interesting for the students to hear a ‘captain of industry’ describe the day to day challenges of his job. Above all he stressed the need to keep on top of customer service which was delivered by his staff team. It was a clever link back to the beginning of his talk in that people are the key to any service industry. The relevance of the talk covering current challenges and future opportunities highlighted how theories learnt in business studies lessons appear in real life.
The students listened attentively to a well delivered, relevant talk and followed this up with some wide-ranging questions and finished with spontaneous applause. Several students stayed behind to ask further questions to this most entertaining and informative speaker.
From a Student's Perspective
On Tuesday November 19th, economic and business students, as well as any students interested, got the opportunity and had the pleasure of meeting and listening to the CEO and Chairman of British Airways – Mr Alex Cruz. During the lecture, Alex discussed the history and future of British Airways and how the company itself has changed over the years and, indeed, how it had changed Britain. Alex believes the key difference between BA and other airlines is that BA really does connect the United Kingdom to the rest of the world and the rest of the world to the UK.
Throughout his speech, Alex seemed like a very down to earth person and not like someone who was leading one of worlds’ most profitable companies. He made British Airways seem approachable and his personality was engaging and made you want to listen to him. Not only this, but it also may have sparked interest in the airline industry for some of the students in attendance due to the way Alex described his work and how much he enjoyed it, being the only industry he has ever worked in! His passion for his job and for the airline industry was evident and it was if he wanted us to work for him which was fantastic to see!
Towards the end there was an opportunity for students to ask questions. There were many questions that were asked which was very interesting, some were on the future of the company and others were on the impact of air travel on the environment. The most interesting question was one by a student which was ‘ What do you think about the conspiracy theories surrounding UFO’s?’ I don’t think anybody was prepared for that question but the most interesting thing about it was that Alex was able to answer the question in a professional manner and link the answer to the radar systems used in aircraft to give a comprehensive overview of what happens at 35,000 feet in the sky!
Overall, the talk was fascinating, engaging and very relevant to our respective A level programmes. It gave an insight into the aircraft industry and Alex Cruz’ humble background makes his story more interesting as it showed us students that if we work hard and consistently we could be in the position where we are CEO of a multi-million pound company and earning a salary to match that level of responsibility! All the students were very grateful to Alex for giving up his time to be with us.
Cathal Doherty, Year 1 Student