Willie Walsh is handing over the controls at British Airways-owner IAG.
The former pilot has been head of BA since 2005, and the wider group since 2011.
He delayed his departure to help the airline get through the current slump in air travel.
On Tuesday (September 8) he faces one last test at the IAG annual shareholder meeting.
Activist investors have called on share owner to reject Walsh’s farewell payment of over 1 million dollars.
Though the vote on remuneration would not be binding.
Walsh will then hand over to company insider Luis Gallego.
He’s credited with turning round the group’s Spanish airline, Iberia.
Now analysts say he will have to deepen cost cuts while also managing damaged relations with unions and politicians.
Both have been angered by BA's plan to shed 12,000 jobs and impose new terms on surviving staff.
Gallego will also have to restore services, which are currently running at about a fifth of normal levels.
He should be helped by some new funds.
IAG is expected to raise about 3.25 billion dollars from shareholders in a new rights issue.