Following more than 27 years at the helm of the Doha-based airline, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced on Monday that he will leave his position on November 5, 2023.
Taken over as CEO in 1997, the frequently gregarious man is recognized as one of the most colorful personalities in the aviation business and is credited with building Qatar Airways into the massive airline it is today.
Born in Doha, Al Baker oversaw several associated businesses and establishments, such as Qatar Duty-Free, Hamad International Airport, and the Qatar Tourism Authority, a government-run agency tasked with overseeing the growth of tourism in the tiny but gas-rich state of Qatar.
Less than a day they had passed when Saad bin Ali Al Kharji was declared the new head of Qatar Tourism by Qatar’s Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani when word broke that Al Baker was abruptly leaving Qatar Airways.
In an internal memo, Al Baker, 61, said it had been “the honor of a lifetime” to serve his country as chief executive of Qatar Airways.
Prior to being named Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive in 1997, Al Baker held a number of positions in the Qatar Civil Aviation Directorate and is a graduate of both economics and commerce, according to his official biography.
With just four planes and a limited number of routes, Qatar Airways was a tiny regional airline at the time. With plans for future growth, the airline currently operates over 239 aircraft, serving 160 destinations.
The airline, Qatar Airways, has unveiled the person who will succeed longtime CEO Akbar Al Baker.
On November 5, 2023, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, a Qatari native who has been the chief operating officer of Hamad International Airport since 2014, will take over as CEO of the Qatar Airways Group in place of Al Baker.
Al-Meer is credited with revitalizing Doha’s Hamad International Airport, but not much is known about him. He was formerly a direct employee of Qatar Airways, serving as senior vice president of facilities management and capital projects.