Sir Roderick Eddington
Cathay Pacific

Sir Roderick Eddington (b. 1950) is an Australian businessman who was a director of Cathay Pacific, and steered British Airways through some difficult years during his tenure as Chief Executive.

Rod came to Perth from a country area where there were no high schools, and was educated at Perth Modern School and Christ Church Grammar School before graduating from the University of Western Australia in 1972 with first class honours in Engineering. He then completed his Master of Engineering and in 1974 was the Rhodes Scholar from Western Australia, completing his DPhil in the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University. He joined the Swire Group in 1979, working for its subsidiary Cathay Pacific, before being appointed Managing Director in 1992. In 1997, Rod was appointed Chairman of the News Corporation-owned airline, Ansett Australia, and was further promoted to the News Corp board in 1999.

In 2000, Rod became Chief Executive of British Airways, and removed many aspects of his predecessor’s corporate relaunch which had proven unpopular with the public — this included reinstating the traditional Union Jack tailfin. Following the events of 9/11 in the US, a period in which many airlines struggled, Rod made workforce cuts under the “Future Size and Shape” cost-cutting programme and oversaw the sale of BA’s stake in Qantas. Against the climate of the Iraq War and SARS, the airline was able to report a profit of £135m in 2003 despite a decrease in turnover. The same year, he made the decision to permanently retire BA’s Concorde.

Bob stood down as BA’s CEO in 2005, and received a knighthood for services to the aviation industry. Most recently, he has held the position of Non-Executive Chairman for JPMorgan, Australia and New Zealand, and of News Corporation.

Rob was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2005