Robert Ayling

ROBERT AYLING, British Airways' managing director, ran one of the world's most profitable airlines in 1995. His reward: being made CEO as of Jan. 1. BA is expected to report $890 million in pretax profits on sales of $12 billion for the year ending March, 1996. Smashing! Ayling, 49, skipped college and climbed the corporate ladder without family or school ties. He now must decide whether to put more money into USAir. Don't bet on it.

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