American Airlines is shrinking with a goal of at least 30% fewer management and support staff. That runs throughout the airline, including Vice Presidents and Senior Vice Presidents.
Over the past two days rumors have been swirling about which members of top leadership will depart, as the airline offers buy out packages. (At this level buy outs are richer than what’s been publicly reported for management staff.)
Very soon we’ll know which members of top management are leaving. I’ve heard whispers of top names all day.
In the meantime Bridget Blaise-Shamai told the AAdvantage team today that she’s stepping down. No announcement has been made yet of who will lead the loyalty program.
Bridget Blaise-Shamai at the Freddie Awards, C.R. Smith Museum, April 2019
Bridget has been with American for 25 years, most of the time working in marketing and loyalty. She took over the program from Suzanne Rubin in August 2016.
For all of my frequent complaints about changes that have been made to the AAdvantage program – dating back to April 2014, not merely under her leadership – those were driven largely from the top by Tempe management. Bridget represented both her bosses and her members well.
I certainly wish her and the rest of the AAdvantage team well. They’ve driven the bulk of the airline’s profits in good times, so it seems talent there would be among the top priorities to retain even as the airline works towards an average attrition across departments of 30%.