CLIENT OF THE WEEK: BA chief relishes no-frills job - Launching an airline will be no trouble for Barbara Cassani, John Tylee writes

The sky’s the limit for Barbara Cassani, chief executive of BA’s new cut-price airline. Having watched her smash through the glass ceiling, some suggest this project could be her passport to the BA summit.

The sky’s the limit for Barbara Cassani, chief executive of BA’s

new cut-price airline. Having watched her smash through the glass

ceiling, some suggest this project could be her passport to the BA

summit.



Cassani dismisses such gossip. ’When I read the story I rang Bob Ayling

(the BA chief executive) to assure him I wasn’t after his job. Oh boy,

did he sound relieved!



’I’m not a long-term planner. I like to jump at opportunities when they

come and then work like hell. At the moment I’m at the work-like-hell

stage.’



No longer protected by the mighty BA corporate cocoon, Cassani knows the

buck now stops with her; not least in the advertising and marketing of

the operation through an alliance of companies co-ordinated by HHCL &

Partners (Campaign, last week).



Staying at arm’s length is not an option. ’Because BA is so big I had

experts around me to manage the agencies,’ she says. ’All I had to do

was sign off the brief, wait for the ads to appear and give them the

thumbs-up or the thumbs-down. Now it’s completely different. I don’t

have experts of my own. The agency is my expert.’



It’s a tough brief for client and agency. The upcoming dogfight with

other no-frills rivals promises to be bloody and personal. Last week,

EasyJet ran press ads that branded Cassani and Ayling ’beauty and the

beast’ and urged the European Commission to investigate BA’s alleged

abuse of its dominant market position to drive the opposition out of

business.



Cassani, 37, Boston-born, Princeton-educated and a former Coopers &

Lybrand consultant, is unlikely to shrink from such a challenge.

Described by the Independent as ’feminine as she is feisty’, she has

worked for BA for ten years, most recently as its US general

manager.



Although she confesses to being ’flabbergasted’ at the telephoned offer

to take charge of the new airline, her reaction was typical. She called

her investment banker husband and was back on to her BA bosses moments

later asking, ’When do you want me to start?’



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).