British Airways Recruits Go-Ahead's Nick Swift as Chief Financial Officer

British Airways Plc, which plans to complete its merger with Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA of Spain early next year, hired Nick Swift as chief financial officer from U.K. bus and rail operator Go-Ahead Group Plc.

Swift, 46, will become CFO on March 7, replacing Keith Williams, who will take over as chief executive officer after the Iberia merger, when current CEO Willie Walsh becomes chief of new holding company International Consolidated Airlines.

“It’s great to be getting back into aviation,” Swift, who was financial-reporting manager at Air New Zealand between 1992 and 1995, said in an interview. “It’s a global business and BA has a terrific reputation.” The executive said it’s too early to comment on the challenges he will face in the new role.

Go-Ahead CEO Keith Ludeman said in a statement that he understood Swift couldn’t spurn the opportunity to return to aviation. Swift said he would have “definitely stayed longer” at Go-Ahead if the British Airways role hadn’t presented itself.

Go-Ahead said on Oct. 26 that Ludeman would stand down as CEO on July 4 to be replaced by David Brown, managing director for surface transport at Transport for London, the state-owned authority that runs buses and subway trains in the U.K. capital. Brown will initially join as deputy chief executive on April 1.

Swift, finance director at Go-Ahead since July 2007, will remain with the Newcastle upon Tyne, England-based company until March to ensure an orderly transition and complete financial reporting for the fiscal first half, Go-Ahead said today.

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