Longtime airline executive and current American Airlines CEO Doug Parker will retire on March 31, the carrier announced Tuesday.
Parker will be replaced at the helm by the airline’s president, Robert Isom, but will continue as chairman of Fort Worth, Texas-based airline’s board.
“I have worked with Robert for two decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next CEO of American Airlines, which is truly the best job in our industry,” Parker said in a statement.
“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.”
Parker became CEO of America West just 10 days before 9/11, and led the carrier through the crisis.
He then oversaw the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines in 2005, becoming chief executive of the newly formed company, which would go on to merge with American Airlines in 2013, when Parker assumed his current role.
“It has been the privilege of my life to serve for 20 years as an airline CEO,” he said. “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.”
Isom, who was named president of American Airlines in 2016, also has decades of airline industry experience.
“Over the past several years, our airline and our industry have gone through a period of transformative change. And with change comes opportunity,” he said in a statement.
John Cahill, lead independent director of American’s board, hailed Isom as “the right leader to carry American forward into its next period of growth.”
With the announcement, Parker is now the second major US airline CEO to announce his retirement this year as the industry prepares for what could prove to be a tumultuous recovery from the depths of the pandemic.
In June, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly announced plans to step down in February.
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