American Airlines this morning announced that longtime Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker will retire effective March 31, 2022 after two decades at the helm.
Company president Robert Isom will assume Parker’s role as the new CEO on the same date, while Parker will continue to serve as the chairman of the American Airlines Board of Directors.
“It has been the privilege of my life to serve for 20 years as an airline CEO,” Parker said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to the American team, whose commitment to taking care of each other and our customers has never wavered and will continue to drive our success going forward.”
Parker said he was pleased with the decision to have Isom take over.
“Robert is a collaborative leader with deep operational expertise and global industry experience,” Parker said. “His efforts to guide and support our team throughout the pandemic have been nothing short of phenomenal. We are well-positioned to take full advantage of our industry’s recovery, and now is the right time for a handoff we have planned and prepared for. I feel extremely fortunate to hand the reins to this clear and capable leader.”
Isom was named American’s president in 2016. He has been in the industry for more than 30 years.
“I am humbled to serve as CEO of American Airlines,” he saod. “Over the past several years, our airline and our industry have gone through a period of transformative change. And with change comes opportunity.”
United, JetBlue Make Changes
United Airlines and JetBlue also made some changes.
United on Monday named Nike executive Matthew Friend to its Board of Directors. Friend is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the sneaker and apparel company.
“As we emerge from the pandemic as a leader in the industry and stand ready to accelerate our business, United will benefit greatly from Matt’s deep financial acumen and stewardship of one of the leading consumer brands on the planet,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. “Plus, his years of global corporate experience will help inform our effort to continue to be a force for good across the country and around the world.”
Said Friend: “United has shown real leadership over the past 18 months and has worked to redefine itself in the eyes of its employees, customers and the communities it serves. The airline is determined to capitalize on this momentum, and I’m thrilled to join the board at this exciting time in its history.”
JetBlue announced that John Flaherty has been named the airline’s new Vice President of Inflight Experience. He will be responsible for ensuring new and current crewmembers have the tools and training to convey a high degree of customer satisfaction among JetBlue passengers.
Southwest also announced some personnel moves as well.