One of British Airways' "great heroes", its former chief executive and later chairman Colin Marshall passed away on 5 July.

Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, who was born in 1933, stepped down in 2004 after more than two decades as either chairman or chief executive at BA. He joined the airline in February 1983 as chief executive under Lord King, tasked with transforming the airline from an inefficient, government-owned company into a successful privatised business.

It was during Marshall's tenure as chief executive that the fractious relationship developed between King, BA and local rival Richard Branson, leading to the notorious "dirty tricks" campaign against his airline Virgin Atlantic. The campaign sparked a very public row between the airlines and ended up in court with BA the loser.

Marshall succeeded King as chairman in 1993, but retained the chief executive role until 1996, when Bob Ayling was appointed. Marshall and Ayling had to endure the backlash from the controversial decision in 1997 to abandon BA's traditional Union Flag logo in favour of the infamous "ethnic tailfins" rebranding. This move proved extremely unpopular and was later reversed.

When he retired in 2004, Marshall was succeeded by form British American Tobacco boss Martin Broughton. "I have never known anyone better able to juggle a variety of responsibilities," Broughton said about his predecessor last week. "Colin will always be remembered fondly as one of the great heroes of British Airways."

Source: Flight Daily News