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IATA members and staff could finally see change sweep through the inscrutable organisation following the resignation of one of the old guard, Guido Gianasso, the head of ‘human capital’ and training.
Mr Gianasso, who worked closely with former chief executive Giovanni Bisignani, has been heavily criticised for creating a culture of fear in the airline association – an image not improved when he attempted to unmask and sue an employee who had savaged him anonymously on the whistle-blowing website, Glassdoor.com.
Reportedly responsible for sacking huge numbers of staff during his career, he is moving on to seek new opportunities in Asia.
The move marks the end of the ‘Italian era’ and ‘reign of terror’ at IATA, and will leave members hoping that the winds of change, promised when ex-Cathay boss Tony Tyler took over as CEO in mid-2011, will finally allow the association to modernise – and deliver value.
Mr Tyler commissioned a strategic review of IATA last year. While it is not yet complete, observers suggest that the writing was on the wall for Mr Gianasso, once known as ‘the executioner’.
Change has certainly started to come to the organisation, albeit slowly. Under Mr Bisignani, the chief executive approval rating from staff was a stunning 0%. This has now risen to 57%, but change has not come fast enough, say staff. Current reviews of the company on Glassdoor.com say: “Simply unbelievable treatment of staff by HR”. “Employees come and go – there’s a lack of job security”. “Cons – human capital management. [They] really kind of forget they are managing just that, humans.” “Cons – manipulative and dishonest management, too much politics and dirty games.”
And the staff also don’t hold back on their advice to Mr Tyler: “Should fire … SVP human capital, director finance, basically all top directors”.
“Advice to senior management – look around the senior management team, when was the last time any one of them was either let go or left on their own accord? Start with human capital, finance and corporate planning, they do not run the company.”
“Disappointing to see more of the same … by the new management. Was looking forward to seeing things turn around for IATA.”
Insiders say that Mr Tyler was biding his time, until the strategic review helped enable him to remove those blocking the association’s development.
Aside from the unhealthy treatment of its 1,500-strong workforce, IATA was also criticised for failing its members by turning some activities, such as training, into money-spinning ventures rather than improving the airline industry. Mr Gianasso, in fact, was also head of training, a part of IATA that has come in for heavy criticism, particularly in cargo.
The question now is whether the affable Des Vertannes (or “poor Des” as he’s known in some forwarder circles) will be able to take training back under the cargo wing, where it can be used to assist members rather than simply raking in profits for IATA.
The ‘loss’ of Mr Gianasso also bodes well for relations with FIATA – a body which works well with IATA Cargo but which has faced ‘the other’ IATA in court battles. And it also works well for The Loadstar, which has never had a fan in Mr Gianasso.
Anyway, it’s time to bury the hatchet. We wish Mr Gianasso – and his new staff – all the best for the future. And we look forward to seeing IATA open a new chapter.