Qatar Airways Chairman Saad al Kaabi said in an official circular obtained by Reuters on Monday that CEO Akbar Al Baker is to step down from his position effective November 5, confirming earlier reports. The circular also confirmed that Badr Al Meer will be the company’s new CEO.
Al Meer is currently the chief operating officer of Doha’s Hamad international airport, according to the airport’s website.
It was not immediately clear why Al Baker, who helmed the state-owned carrier for over two decades, is retiring. He was appointed CEO in 1997, three years after the airline launched. Qatar Airways representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
It was announced on Sunday that Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al Thani had replaced Al Baker as the country’s top tourism official. No reason was given for the decision.
Al Baker has been instrumental in transforming Qatar Airways into an major international carrier that competes against the likes of Dubai’s Emirates and Turkish Airlines.