Muhammad Albakri to lead IATA’s customer, financial and digital services

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has named Muhammad Albakri, its current regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East (AME) as the senior vice president for Customer, Financial and Digital Services (CFDS), based in Geneva and effective March 1, 2021. Albakri will replace Aleks Popovich who will retire next year. 

Albakri joined IATA in January 2017 after more than a decade in the leadership team of Saudi Arabian Airlines where he successfully fulfilled the roles of chief financial officer, chief information officer and senior vice president for transformation. At IATA, Albakri has been an agent of change, transforming the Africa and Middle East regional team to better serve member needs and pioneering the work of IATA’s Digital Transformation Advisory Council. 

“Muhammad is well prepared to guide the development of IATA’s commercial offerings, settlement services and digital leadership. In normal times, these are critical functions—even more so in the middle of an industry crisis,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

Speaking about the outgoing Aleks Popovich, de Juniac said, “Over the past 16 years, Aleks has driven some of the most critical elements of IATA’s operations, while leading major transformational projects for the airline industry. This includes IATA’s financial settlement products, which securely processed $457 billion of industry money in 2019, during a time of tremendous innovation in financial technology. And he delivered critical flagship programs that continue to change the industry—introducing cost-effective self-service options under the banner of Simplifying the Business, enabling airline retailing with New Distribution Capability (NDC), and streamlining decades of legacy processes with ONE Order. Aleks leaves behind a great team with a clear focus on customer service that will continue to drive critical changes under the capable leadership of Muhammad.”

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