Accountancy Age Awards 2010 FD of the Year Blue Chip - Keith Williams
It’s hard enough getting a business off the ground, but it’s even tougher keeping it there.
BA’s finance chief Keith Williams has kept a firm grip on the company’s finances against a backdrop of industrial strikes and a merger with Spanish operator Iberia.
“He’s a phenomenal FD who has steered BA through arguably the hardest period in its history – whether it’s been the global recession, fuel hikes or Icelandic ash clouds – he has retained a very, very strong finance function which worked as hard as it could to support the business. The finance function has duly done that,” said one judge
He is credited with filleting costs from BA’s operationswhile maintaining its reputation as a full service carrier.
His straight talking has endeared him to investors, City watchers and the accountancy community.
“He’s done an incredible job of reassuring shareholders who were being told to sell BA shares. These shareholders could see from the story Keith was explaining that the business was going to come back stronger.”
With a complex merger ongoing and industrial disputes underway Williams has played such a pivotal role in keeping BA ticking over, he has been rewarded with the CEO role at the airline when Willie Walsh moves up to control the merged BA/Iberia group.
“He has played an absolutely phenomenal role in supporting Willie Walsh and taken on a broader remit and you can see what the company thinks of him after he attained the Holy Grail of moving from FD to CEO,” a source said.