Akbar Al Baker, the renowned CEO of Qatar Airways, is set to step down after a remarkable 27-year tenure, leaving a legacy of transformative leadership that propelled Qatar Airways to new heights. His departure, scheduled for November 5, 2023, paves the way for Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer to assume the role of Group Chief Executive for Qatar Airways, as announced by the airline.
Here are five key insights into the career of Akbar Al Baker, the man responsible for shaping Qatar Airways into a leading global air carrier:
- Educational Background: Akbar Al Baker, a graduate in Economics and Commerce, began his career at the Civil Aviation Directorate before taking the helm as Qatar Airways CEO in 1997.
- Multi-Faceted Leadership: Al Baker’s leadership extended beyond the CEO position, as he held the role of CEO in several divisions of Qatar’s national airline, including Qatar Executive, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, Qatar Distribution Company, Qatar Duty Free, and Internal Media Services.
- Long-Distance Powerhouse: Under Al Baker’s guidance, Qatar Airways emerged as a formidable long-distance carrier, challenging its Gulf rival, Emirates. His commitment to delivering a premium travel experience earned acclaim from passengers but also led to disputes with aircraft manufacturers Airbus SE and Boeing Co.
- Legal Battles: One notable dispute involved Akbar Al Baker taking Airbus to court over issues with flaking paint on widebody A350 jets. The matter was resolved earlier this year.
- Controversial Statements: In 2018, Al Baker made headlines for controversial remarks suggesting that a woman could not perform his role due to its challenging nature. Throughout his career, his retirement had been anticipated, yet he consistently maintained that he would step down when asked to do so.
The departure of Akbar Al Baker marks the end of an era at Qatar Airways, and the airline looks to its new leadership under Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer to continue its legacy of excellence in the aviation industry. Akbar Al Baker’s remarkable journey has left an indelible mark on the world of aviation, and his legacy will be celebrated as he steps down from his role.
Sources By Agencies