Adds context, background
DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Akbar Al Baker is retiring as chief executive of Qatar Airways following more than two decades at the helm of the state-owned carrier, according to a source familiar with the matter.
It was not immediately clear why Al Baker, who was appointed CEO in 1997, three years after the airline launched, is retiring.
Qatar Airways representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
It was announced on Sunday that Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al Thani had replaced Al Baker as the country's top tourism official. No reason was given for the decision.
Al Baker has been instrumental in transforming Qatar Airways into an major international carrier that competes against the likes of Dubai's Emirates and Turkish Airlines.
(Reporting by Maha Eldahan and Andrew Mills Writing by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Potter)
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