Exclusive: British Airways comms director to depart after major changes at airline

British Airways’ comms and sustainability director has resigned from the airline after three years.

Louise Evans (pictured above), director of external comms and sustainability and a member of the management committee, has resigned in order to forge a new career in leadership coaching. She recently completed a post-graduate coaching qualification from Henley Business School and will leave the airline in the spring.

After a tumultuous year dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, Evans has also completed the restructure of BA’s comms and sustainability teams, with some key promotions and departures.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle, who replaced Alex Cruz in October, said: “The last few years at BA have been extremely challenging in the comms space and Louise has led us successfully through some tumultuous events. Now, with COVID vaccines being introduced and the slow journey to recovery almost within our grasp, and with her new qualification completed, she feels the time is right to hand over the reins. She will continue in her BA role for the next few months, remaining as part of [the management committee], and will be supporting me in the search for a successor.”

Evans’ restructure of BA’s global comms and sustainability operation in recent months has created three divisional heads: the long-serving Victoria Madden is now head of global PR and social media; and Nicola Pearson is now head of global news and corporate comms; while Carrie Harris has joined as head of sustainability from parent group International Airlines Group, where she was sustainability manager.

Each of these divisional heads has a team of five to 15 executives reporting into them.

The restructure, part of a wider consultation period carried out by BA this summer, saw long-serving senior PR manager Amanda Allan and head of global media relations Liza Ravenscroft take voluntary redundancy. Allan has set up her own consultancy and Ravenscroft has joined Marriott as senior director, issues and crisis comms EMEA.

Key promotions, meanwhile, include Francesca Catling and Jack Calway becoming global PR managers.

Evans, who was formerly director of corporate affairs at Sainsbury’s, told PRWeek: “After three momentous years at BA, with COVID vaccines and the slow road to recovery in sight, I’ve decided it’s the right time to hand over the reins to someone new. I've very much enjoyed my progress in leadership coaching, which I've decided to pursue in earnest. Mostly though I want to thank my amazing team. They have been truly outstanding in the most difficult year of BA’s life.”

During her time at BA, Evans conceived and delivered the huge Centenary campaign in 2019, including two Royal visits, as well as a campaign for the future of sustainable aviation fuels.

And Doyle attests to the fact that Evans “has been absolutely integral in our response to the COVID-19 crisis that has hit us, professionalising and modernising her department.”

Since joining BA in early 2018, Evans has added sustainability and social media to her remit. She was promoted to the airline’s management committee at the beginning of 2020.

Owing to the COVID-19 crisis, British Airways has been forced to downsize its workforce by between a quarter and a third in 2020. As well as a new chief executive in Doyle, parent group IAG has seen the departure of long-serving CEO Willie Walsh, who was replaced by Luis Gallego in September.

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