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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.

Comment on this article


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  • David Harris

    December 06, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Stop being so cautious Alex. Tell us what you really think of the old guard at IATA

  • Alex Lennane

    December 06, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it…:)

  • John Mc Lean

    December 08, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Finally got rid of him. So much to do. At least TT is improving the situation. Now it’s time to clean the rest because they have a lots of incompetent people there at top level.

  • Alex Lennane

    December 08, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Thanks for all the comments on this article. Unfortunately we cannot publish some for legal reasons – so apologies if you don’t see your comment here.

  • Anthony Jones

    December 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    This has to be the greatest news that IATA has ever heard since its beginning. I for one have no respect for this coward who has destroyed so many lives. Now, it’s time for his supporters to exit IATA.

    We need another article once the trench of senior management layoffs are announced.

  • Jens-Thomas Rueckert

    December 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Certainly no loss. Amen.

  • Let go during maternity leave

    December 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    My postion was abolished during my maternity leave. Instead of fighting it, I head my head up high and moved on to greener pastures.

    They changed the name from HR to HC a few years ago, mainly becuase many had started calling the department HR- Human Remains

  • LC1

    January 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I’m writing this 10 years after leaving and can just confirm that it was worse than the article raises; for instance, compensation was supposed to be based on merit and only very few staff could be considered as so called ‘A players’. Well, I had a super A player reporting to me and she was rewarded with zero increase…I saw correspondence (by accident i was copied) which showed that they had decided who would be the A players even before the reviews had been undertaken and submitted. Obviously the recommendations were not based on any merit…what a zoo…no, jungle.

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