American Airlines Names New Senior Leadership Team – But One Spot Is Glaringly Vacant

When American Airlines announced that Chairman and CEO Doug Parker would become non-executive Chairman on March 31, 2022 and current President Robert Isom would take over as CEO and join the board, I wrote that Executive Vice President of People and Communications Elise Eberwein would step down as well. That’s now official.

Robert Isom has named his new leadership team and it’s interesting as much for what hasn’t been stated as what has.

  • CFO Derek Kerr also becomes Vice Chairman, overseeing finance and continuing to oversee regional operations
  • Executive Vice President Steve Johnson who ran government affairs keeps his senior title but may be getting kicked upstairs’ to a senior advisory role,
  • Maya Leibman stays as Chief Information Officer. Many customers knew her as the head of the AAdvantage program a decade ago.

The rest of the leadership team:

Priya Aiyar, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer
Cole Brown, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer
Ron DeFeo, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer
Nate Gatten, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Government Affairs Officer
Vasu Raja, Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer
David Seymour, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Notice something missing? They haven’t named a new President. They didn’t mention ‘announcement to come’. Could that mean hiring from the outside? I have no inside information on this but one rumor I liked was Joanna Geraghty, the President and COO of JetBlue. Notably also the Senior Leadership Team doesn’t include Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor, though the airline tells me she is “staying on.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Looks like the 5x bonus offer has been removed from Simply miles.

    Also, is it new that the chat feature from the AA app is now on the desktop site?

  2. @Gary, thanks for this.
    The most important piece in this is that Parker is *Non-executive* chairman, meaning he doesn’t get to interfere w/Isom (much), but how they then make the Vice-Chair an executive position is beyond me.
    I wouldn’t fuss over no President. With, we hope, an operationally savvy CEO and a COO they really don’t need one. It also gives the option to promote the outstanding sycophant if the opportunity arises.

  3. If Joanna Geraghty comes over, it will be a major step down to where AA is now given that B6 consistently runs the worst operation of the big 6 carriers – and is usually just ahead of just one ULCC.
    The constant excuse that they operate in some of the most challenging areas of the country wears thin when other airlines including AA deliver better on-time from the same airports.
    Hopefully the Joanna part doesn’t come true but if it does it highlights how badly AA and B6 want to be together and are willing to exchange execs.

  4. It’s interesting how so many people who post on airline blogs claim to know more about running an airline than the people who actually do the job. But that’s human nature. I’m reminded of the old saying not to judge others until you’ve walked in their shoes. By the way, the foregoing comment isn’t meant to judge. It’s merely an observation. I’m not stating that some of the thoughts aren’t valid at times, from the poster’s point of view – but there’s no way for anyone who hasn’t done a particular job to know all the minutiae that go into its day-to-day routine and how to balance the often conflicting needs of the specific constituencies one serves until one has actually been there. I know I don’t have the expertise it takes to run an airline. I also know I don’t want to see any of them liquidated, as some airline blog posters and pundits do.

  5. where did anyone say anything about wanting anybody liquidated? Maybe, just maybe, you read WAY TOO MUCH into what other people say.
    but do let us know where liquidation appeared in this discussion

  6. Vasu Raja needs to be bumped up to President. Although he may need to broaden his view of the company, he is definitely the guy that has vision to take AA to where it needs to be. #Vasu4President

  7. “vision to take AA where it needs to be” – Gads, everything this guy has been involved has done nothing other than expeidte to the bottom rung of major airlines in terms of service and operational and long term finanacial status. Like many with his non service background he is absoultely clueless in what role customer service plays in operating a successful airline.

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