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Management Shake-Up At American Airlines

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - There has been a shake-up for the management team at American Airlines. The changes were announced on Monday morning, and are set to start once the company merges with US Airways. “This announcement is another important step forward in creating the new American Airlines and opening a new chapter for its more than 100,000 team members,” said US Airways CEO Doug Parker.

As previously reported, Parker will become CEO of the newly merged airline. American Airlines CEO Tom Horton will become board chairman for about a year, and then may receive a $20 million payout under the bankruptcy plan.

As for the other eight members of the management team, five will come from US Airways and just three will remain from American Airlines.

Coming over from US Airways are Scott Kirby as President, Elise Eberwein as Executive Vice President of People and Communications, Robert Isom as Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Johnson as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Derek Kerr as Chief Financial Officer.

Remaining in management roles with American Airlines are Beverly Goulet as Chief Integration Officer, Maya Liebman as Chief Information Officer and William Ris as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.

The retention of Liebman and Ris are a clue, said former airline executive Marck Drusch, that American is trying to choose the best leaders from each company. American has long relationships in Washington he said, and a history dating back to the 1960’s of leading the way in airline technology.

“The reason this merger makes sense is because of what American was doing as part of getting out of bankruptcy,” Drusch said. “They’re not trying to unravel what American was doing. They’re trying to bring additional value to what American was doing.”

Employees of American Airlines had previously picketed outside of the company’s Fort Worth headquarters as a show of solidarity, and a show of no confidence in their management. Leaders from the Allied Pilots, however, said today that the changes were what they had wanted for the last decade.

The US Airways board is expected to approve the airline merger next month, with a federal bankruptcy judge likely to do the same on August 15. The two airlines are also waiting for approval from the Justice Department.

“The new American is strong, renewed and positioned for a successful merger,” said Horton. “I am extremely grateful for the work and dedication of American’s senior leaders who helped bring about the most successful airline restructuring in history.”

In addition to the new American Airlines management team, the company also announced a new board of directors and noted that American Eagle President and CEO Dan Garton was stepping down. His successor will be announced at a later date.

Parker told employees in a letter Monday that additional leadership would be placed throughout the summer. Drusch said the next level of leadership in the company, senior vice president who have a more active role in operations, would give more insight to the direction the new airline will take.

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