Top Marketers Depart British Airways Amid Cartel Inquiry

10 October 2006

LONDON: British Airways, currently in the throes of a major probe into alleged cartel involvement with other airlines, on Monday announced the resignation of commercial director Martin George and head of communications Iain Burns

Since June, when the UK Office of Fair Trading and the US Department of Justice launched an inquiry into so-called fuel surcharges, both executives have been on leave of absence.

In his letter of resignation George, one of Britain's most respected marketers, conceded that his department could have been involved in "inappropriate conversations in violation of company policy in relation to fuel surcharges."

However, continues the letter: "I was not involved in such conversations. Although the Board of BA have not found that I have behaved in a dishonest way, I fully recognize my responsibilities as head of department and as a board director."

BA has not published any similar statement from Burns.

Meantime, Robert Boyle, the airline's director of planning, replaces George as commercial director, while the communications role passes from Burns to Thomas Coops, former communications director at Abbey National.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff