I feel greatly honored to be confirmed by you as the next Director General and CEO of IATA.
It is also a great honor to follow Giovanni in this position. During his 9 years at IATA he has driven initiatives that have changed our industry for the better. And he has changed IATA for the better too—making it relevant to your business, taking its activities into new areas, and building a great team that I look forward to leading. We owe Giovanni huge thanks for his leadership of IATA and for the enormous improvements that he has made possible.
He will be a tough act to follow. Giovanni is a one-off! I’m not another Giovanni, and couldn’t be even if I tried! I will be a different Director General. I don’t have any BASTA’s up my sleeve and I can’t promise the same entertainment and drama in my Annual General Meeting speeches.
My style will be different, but my goal will be the same—to deliver results that help you, our members, to do business more successfully.
Until the end of March, I had the privilege of leading Cathay Pacific, and for over 30 years I have been an airline man. I understand the challenges of running an airline and I know what your priorities are. Safety is first, of course. Then there is the never-ending struggle to keep revenues ahead of costs as you get hit by one unexpected crisis after another. I have also experienced first hand the support that IATA can deliver. I know that it is you—IATA’s member airlines— who put in the effort that turns IATA’s agenda into results.
IATA’s ability to fulfill its mission ‘to represent, lead and serve’ depends on your trust and confidence. Yesterday was a difficult day, but I took some positive things from it. Obviously IATA is relevant to you, or you wouldn’t care as much as you clearly do about how it’s run. I heard your message for greater membership involvement and for more transparency.
My challenge will be to deliver these without compromising IATA’s effectiveness and ability to execute and deliver what the industry needs. Greater involvement and transparency must help IATA to become an even more effective association. No-one wants it to be an inward looking organization more concerned about running itself than delivering results. Let’s not forget that IATA has delivered some great results in recent years. I am very conscious of the expectations you have of me and my colleagues to continue to do so.
Aviation is the most exciting business to work in. Every plane that takes off opens up new possibilities for business and trade, fulfills peoples’ dreams of exploration and discovery, and brings people together. And I really believe that by doing so aviation makes our world a better place. We do this safely for billions of people and millions of tonnes of cargo every year. Aviation has changed our planet into a community. And in terms of potential, we’ve only just started.
I’m passionate about this industry—about the good it does and the importance it has. My goal is to make the world a better place for airlines to do business. By telling our industry’s impressive story, I will be a tireless advocate for all of our members. By focusing attention on the magic of this industry, we can inspire governments, suppliers, employees, passengers, agents, shippers —the whole value chain—to be stronger partners that together can deliver value, promote prosperity and share success.
IATA will support your success by removing roadblocks and making improvements possible. And I ask you to support me in these efforts. Help me to help you. I’m very excited to be taking up this job and these responsibilities. I am looking forward to working with all of you and with my IATA colleagues.
Thank you again for your trust and confidence.