The CEO of Qatar Airways says he plans to lead the airline into a “new era” which emphasizes “a culture of trust and empowerment will be the building blocks of our shared success.”
Badr Mohammed Al-Meer took over the role on Sunday, which was previously held by the outspoken Akbar Al Baker, who courted controversy throughout his time in charge.
He paid tribute to his predecessor while announcing his plans for the future, according to a statement shared with One Mile at a Time.
Al-Meer said he plans to invest in “the priorities and concerns of my generation,” such as emerging technologies and sustainable solutions, while continuing with the “aggressive growth” the airline is known for.
Since Al Baker took charge nearly three decades ago, Qatar’s national carrier has transformed into a global brand and picked up several awards along the way.
That leaves Al-Meer with big boots to fill, especially since he doesn’t have experience in an operational airline role. Al-Meer was previously the chief operating officer of Hamad International Airport in Doha, which is Qatar Airways’ main base.
Although Al Baker often courted controversy, so a “culture of empowerment” could help Al-Meer make his mark and distinguish him from his predecessor.
The former CEO was booed at a press conference in 2018 after saying that a woman couldn’t do his job “because it is a very challenging position.”
He later rowed back on the remark and said he would welcome a woman as his successor, and tweeted an apology.
And during a 2017 speech, Al Baker said US airlines were “crap” and their passengers were “always being served by grandmothers,” while boasting that “the average age of my cabin crew is only 26.”
He subsequently apologized for the remarks.