JetBlue Brings Back Marty St. George As New President

There’s no secret that JetBlue is struggling. Their on-time performance has been poor. They’ve degraded their inflight product over the years, reducing the differentiation between them and competitors (although still offering a bit more legroom, seat back TVs, and free Wifi). And their stock has been in the dumps. Employees are unhappy.

The airline lost anti-trust trials over its partnership with American Airlines and its acquisition of Spirit Airlines (for which it was likely overpaying, and would be taking on significant operational complexity to execute the merger). And its CEO announced his exit.

JetBlue elevated airline President Joanna Geraghty to CEO-designate. And they’ve brought back JetBlue veteran and LATAM Chief Commercial Officer Marty St. George as President.

  • I’ve criticized the choice of Geraghty as likely more of the same. She was the airline’s HR lawyer and intimately involved in its failed current strategy.

  • St. George is well-liked by many employees, and by the commentariat in part because of his active and often hard-hitting Twitter presence (@martysg). St. George served as a JetBlue executive dating back to its glory (and profitable) years in 2006, departing the airline in 2019.

He’ll lead including marketing; loyalty; network planning; airline partnerships; sales and revenue management; customer support; enterprise and operational planning; and corporate communications as well as JetBlue Travel Products.

Joanna Geraghty said,

With more than 30 years of experience in aviation and a passion for our industry like few others, Marty’s the right leader to bring onboard as we embark on our focused plan to get back to profitability.

I look forward to working with Marty to ensure that our crewmembers are set up for success in serving our customers and can deliver the reliability we know is critical to generating financial returns and powering long-term, sustainable growth.

I’ve written that JetBlue should consider an acquisition of money-losing Breeze Airways as a way of bringing back its founder Dave Neeleman to recapture its old magic, to signal massive shift in direction, and to inspire the workforce.

Bringing back Marty St. George does not, on its own, accomplish that. But if they were to ‘get the band back together’ with a significant influx of leadership from an earlier era, and if they had a mandate and space to run to restore the operation and product and become the preferred carrier in the New York and Boston markets, they could make money (and sell credit cards to happy customers wanting to fly JetBlue more often).

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, 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. How does wasting a bunch of time of Twitter contribute to this guy’s leadership portfolio?

    JetBlue needs a miracle. The institution of seat surcharges in recent days shows they’re sliding further in the wrong direction — emulating the nickel-and-dime-focused legacies when they should be attempting to differentiate.

  2. Sadly, when a company underperforms it is hard for leadership to do anything other than follow the conventional wisdom path. That’s what got JetBlue into this trouble in the first place, of course. If you’re doing what everyone else is, the struggles aren’t really your fault! if you stick your neck out, then you own the failures, and you’re out.

  3. Lots of head wind at B6 and Mr St George has his work cut out for him.
    Instead of basing his compensation on the strike point of stock options; base it on Customer Satification and consistency of service. That’s the real challenge!!

    Good Luck Mr St George!! You’ll need it!!

  4. I put my faith in JetBlue on Monday and booked a round trip nonstop between LAX and BUF in late April/early May. I went with Blue this time instead of Blue Basic. It comes with a carry-on allowed and a personal item allowed as well as reserving standard seats (window for me) at no extra cost. I had been waiting for a sale and finally one hit. I also used my accumulated mileage points to pay for part of the ticket price. I sure hope that JetBlue survives because it is my go to airline for flights in the USA.

  5. JetBlue has a *lot* more legroom, enough for anyone less than 6′ 6″ tall. Their Airbus planes have wider seats than Boeing. It’s a superb coach experience. JetBlue is unable to monetize this advantage due to horrible on-time performance deterring customers.

    What’s needed is simple: Reduce the amount of flying to provide sufficient slack that the system will fully reset within 24 hours of severe weather. This reduces revenue in the short run but gives JetBlue pricing power in the long run as customers learn that JetBlue is now reliable as well as more comfortable.

    Stockholders need to give the new CEO enough time for this strategy to pay off.

  6. bringing back the founder generation will not turn B6 around.
    Having people that are creative and strategic enough and capable of adapting to a world that is very different than the one B6 was born in **could** turn the company around.

  7. How about making money again with reopening Ft Lauderdale to St Maarten? Same distance and PbI to JFK and Jetblue can charge double. I was on the first flight, I will fly that route when it reopens

  8. Workers are unhappy?
    They DESPISE Joanna Geraghty!
    At least those who deal with the public. No confidence in her ability to save the airline.

  9. JetBlue “worker” here who “deals with the public.”. Not sure who despises Joanna, but no one I know does. Probably the most well liked leader we have. Always out there. Always meeting with the frontline. May not like what we hear, but she’s very engaged.

    Gary also no one here cares about David Neeleman. He got lucky with JetBlue, has failed three more times since then. He’s been gone twice as long as he was at JetBlue. No one knows him. No one who remembers him thinks he was any good at running an airline. It’s passed him by. It’s an intellectually lazy take on your part to say JetBlue should buy Breeze to get David back. It makes zero sense strategically.

  10. Breeze? That’s like Kmart buying Caldor. David N? He clearly lost his touch. I doubt he will ever be magic again.

    Heck, Gary, why not write that you think they need to bring back Herb Kelleher from the dead to run to run it, lol.

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