Shortest Tenure Ever For The Leader Of AAdvantage, Julie Rath Promoted On After Just 4 Months

Back in March American Airlines named Julie Rath to head the AAdvantage program or at least the customer-facing parts of it (the team was split between customer-facing program and mileage sales, which is headed up by Scott Laurence, the executive who bounced from JetBlue to Delta to American in a matter of weeks).

Julie had been Vice President of Customer Experience and Reservations and didn’t just get AAdvantage but also Marketing, while keeping much of her existing portfolios, effectively doing the job of four vice presidents. She previously worked at Delta Air Lines and Northwest, where she went to work out of college in 1991.

Several days ago I’d heard that reservations was back under Alison Taylor and moving out of Julie’s portfolio. I thought at the time, ‘well one person can’t do it all’. What I didn’t realize was this wasn’t just a temporary switch while they searched for a new Vice President, that it presaged a broader realignment of her responsibilities.

In a move first reported by JonNYC, Julie Rath is becoming Senior Vice President over airports.

This is the shortest tenure at the helm of AAdvantage that I’m aware of. A decade ago there were actually three AAdvantage Presidents in two years (after Kurt Stache and Rob Friedman and before Maya Leibman). Now it’s looking like there will be four in just over two years, Bridget Blaise-Shamai to Rick Elieson to Julie Rath to a player to be named later.

It remains unclear whether Managing Director Heather Samp gets the nod or a new executive will be moved in to backfill Julie. I’ve reached out to American Airlines for clarification.

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. A business that is constantly changing senior management is a business in turmoil.

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