oneworld®, the leading global airline alliance, yesterday named industry veteran Rob Gurney as its new CEO.
He succeeds Bruce Ashby, who announced already in January that he would be stepping down from the role this summer after more than five years in the position.
Rob Gurney will join oneworld in October after leaving Gulf carrier Emirates, where he served as Senior Vice-President Commercial Operations The Americas.
He has substantial experience of airline alliances with much of his 25-year career in the industry spent with oneworld founding members British Airways and Qantas.
For four years until 2012, he was the Australian carrier’s Group Executive Commercial, with responsibilities for global sales and marketing including alliance relationships, which saw him serving as Qantas’ representative on the oneworld Management Team “Executive Board”, working closely with all oneworld’s member airlines.
As oneworld CEO, he will report to the alliance’s Governing Board, comprising the CEOs of all member airlines, and lead the central alliance team, which is based in New York.
Announcing the appointment, oneworld Governing Board Chairman Ivan Chu, CEO of Cathay Pacific, said: ‘Bruce Ashby leaves big shoes to fill – and, in Rob Gurney, oneworld has appointed someone well able to do so. He takes on the role of oneworld CEO with a proven track record of successful leadership in key alliance and broader commercial roles within both the oneworld family and beyond, with all the attributes needed to lead the world’s most highly prized global alliance through the next phase of our development‘.
Rob Gurney said in his response: ‘In many ways, this move feels like coming home. I look forward to working once again with oneworld’s stable of best-in-class carriers from each region to build further on oneworld’s position as the best alliance in the skies‘.
Rob Gurney joined oneworld founding partner British Airways in 1993, working in commercial roles in Australia, New Zealand and the airline’s London headquarters, where he project managed its first code-sharing partnership with Qantas.
In 1997, he switched to Qantas, working in various commercial roles in the airline’s Sydney headquarters, including revenue management, marketing and distribution. He served as Head of International Sales and Head of Worldwide Sales, ending as Group Executive Qantas Airlines Commercial, with responsibility for worldwide sales and marketing, including alliance relationships, joint ventures, the group’s QantasLink regional carrier, and freight.
After leaving Qantas in 2012, he served for two years as CEO of Helloworld (previously branded Jetset Travelworld Group).
He was recruited by Emirates in 2014 as its Divisional Vice-President Australia and New Zealand, playing an instrumental role in developing the Gulf carrier’s bilateral alliance with Qantas. A year later, he was transferred by the airline to New York, as Senior Vice-President North America, responsible for all commercial activities in the USA and Canada. In March he assumed responsibility also for South America, becoming Senior Vice-President Commercial Operations The Americas.
Rob Gurney has dual UK and Australian citizenship.
oneworld is an alliance of some of the world’s leading airlines, committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers. They include Qatar Airways, airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines, and around 30 affiliates. As part of oneworld, these airlines:
- Serve more a thousand airports in 150 plus countries, with 14,000 daily departures.
- Carry some 550 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of 3,500 aircraft.
- Generate US$ 130 billion annual revenues.
oneworld member airlines work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience, with special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network. Top tier cardholders (Emerald and Sapphire) enjoy access to more than 650 airport lounges and are offered extra baggage allowances. The most regular travellers (Emerald) can also use fast track security lanes at select airports.