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Barbara Cassani is a respected expert on leadership and start-up management. She is best known for founding the low cost airline Go and spearheading the successful London 2012 Olympic bid.
Following her first position as a management consultant for Coopers & Lybrand she moved to work in British Airways’ US operation. She worked in sales, marketing and on the team responsible for integrating Dan-Air into BA’s business.
In 1997 facing increasing competition from low cost airlines British Airways instigated its own budget offering known as Go. As CEO Cassani was responsible for turning the £25m initial investment into a profitable airline within 3 years. She headed a £110 million management buyout and in 2002 Go was sold to easyJet for £374 million. She co-authored the book Go: An Airline Adventure.
In 2002 Barbara was named as Veuve Clicquot UK Businesswoman of the Year and was voted UK Entrepreneur of the Year by readers of the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs.
The Boston-born entrepreneur was appointed in 2003 to spearhead London’s push to host the 2012 Olympics. As Chairman then Vice-Chairman she hired the winning team, created the blueprint for the Games and developed UK public support. She was awarded an honorary CBE by the British Government.
Barbara was awarded an honorary degree from Cranfield University in 2004. She returned to the low cost airline sector in 2007 with her appointment as chairman of the board at Vueling Airlines, the Barcelona based company. In 2008 she was appointed Executive Chairman of Jurys Inns, the budget hotel chain. She is currently a partner in 3x + Y Ventures, established to identify start-up and growth opportunities in the UK travel and retail sectors.
Barbara Cassani has served on a number of corporate (both private and public) and non-profit boards, including Marks & Spencer, a European hotel group and several European airlines. Today she also provides informal mentoring to a number of business people – to both entrepreneurs and to orporate executives.
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