Hard-nosed dealmaker Vazquez, who was already involved in the merger talks due to his role as director at Iberia, will kick-start discussions which have become bound up in red tape a year after they were first announced, analysts say.
Vazquez oversaw the sale of Spanish tobacco firm Altadis to Britain’s Imperial Tobacco in 2007.
Earlier this week, reports said Caja Madrid, Iberia’s main shareholder, was growing frustrated with stalled talks under departing chairman Fernando Conte.
But an Iberia spokesman instead said Conte had told the board at the start of the year that he wanted to step down before he turned 60 in March 2010.
Willie Walsh, the chairman of troubled BA, welcomed Vazquez, saying the airline was “confident that his business and leadership skills will ensure that the relationship with British Airways will continue to develop.”
Walsh added: “We look forward to working with him on all matters, including the continuing merger discussions.”