Sarah Nichol, Chief Financial Officer, IAG Cargo

Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

IAG Cargo came into existence in April 2011 with the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo. Aiming to be the world’s leading air cargo provider, the carrier looks to offer a cargo business with a difference, one that is centred around helping its business grow. IAG Cargo has been working towards leveraging the benefits of integration for its customers, offering access to its extended global network, a competitive premium product portfolio. It also continues to invest in delivering a service that is personal and user-friendly. We spoke to Sarah Nichol, Chief Financial Officer of the carrier on an array of topics.

Excerpts from the interview:

A bit of information on your background – i.e. educational qualifications and previous work experiences

I completed my degree in Accountancy and French at the University of Kent during which I spent a year abroad in Lyon, France. After graduating I began working at Arthur Anderson where I qualified as a chartered accountant. I joined British Airways in September 2001, just a few days before the tragic and far-reaching events of 9/11 as Manager, Internal audit. Over the past 15 years I have held a variety of roles within the business, including Commercial Finance Manager in what was then British Airways World Cargo in 2004 and the Head of Group Reporting at British Airways in 2008; which saw me work closely on the merger with Iberia. I returned to Cargo as Deputy Finance Director in 2014 and was appointed CFO in October last year.

Why/ how did you end up working in this industry?

I have always loved the airline industry and travelling. I grew up with both family and friends in the industry so it always seemed like a natural fit.

What are the perks of being in this industry? What do you like most about your job?

A love for travel means that I’m certainly in the right industry. One aspect that I love about my job is that every day is different. Everything that happens in the world has an impact on the aviation industry; it is unpredictable and it is unique. What we do in this industry matters; whether it’s moving vaccines for a pandemic or shipping food for super markets. I am proud that what we do touches lives.

Any anecdotes from your professional life you would like to share with our readers?

Keep looking for new challenges from which you learn. I have found that it is so important to keep an eye on your long term vision. The path isn’t always clear or easy, but it helps when you and your team are reminded of where they are going. When British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo merged it would have been easy to become overwhelmed by the task of bringing two large organisations together. But we had a clear vision and we challenge ourselves to always move our business forward and never stand still. Looking back, the path seems like it was so much clearer and well defined, but I credit much of that to a clear, well communicated vision.

Top holiday destination?

That’s difficult. I enjoy visiting new places and ticking off as many new destinations as possible. I particularly love exploring Italy and have enjoyed some fantastic breaks in Tuscany and the Lakes. I’m also fortunate to be able to visit close family in Western Australia on a relatively regular basis.

Favourite cuisine?

It’s got to be Italian – a simple bowl of fresh pasta in Taormina, Sicily with Mount Etna smoking away in the distance.