American Airlines announced Tuesday that on March 31, 2022 Doug Parker will step down from his position as CEO of the company and will be replaced by Robert Isom, current president, marking the end of Parker’s successful career as the executive who He has served as CEO for the longest time since the deregulation of the commercial airline industry in the United States in the late 1970s. Isom will also serve on the board of directors of American Airlines, of which Parker will continue to serve as chairman.
Over the past two decades Parker has navigated through profound industry transformations driven by key events such as 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He took over as CEO of America West Airlines just ten days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and he played an important role in creating the stabilization fund that saved America’s major airlines. In 2005, he carried out the merger of America West with US Airways, becoming CEO of the latter, leading processes that made it one of the companies with the best operational and financial performance in the industry.
But the definitive ascent to Olympus would come a few years later when in 2013 US Airways merged with American Airlines, in what was the largest integration of two airlines in history, resulting in a giant that prior to the pandemic had more than 130 thousand employees, generated USD 45.8 billion in revenue and carried around 200 million passengers a year.
Whoever replaces him also comes from the US Airways school. Robert Isom was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer prior to the merger with American, then held the same positions there, having led projects such as the partnership with Alaska Airlines and jetBlue. Previously, he also went through GMAC, Northwest Airlines and America West Airlines, occupying different management positions.
“I have worked with Robert for two decades and am incredibly pleased that he is going to be the next CEO of American Airlines, which is truly the best job in our industry,” said Parker. “Robert is a leading collaborator with deep operational knowledge and global experience in the industry. His efforts to guide and support our team during the pandemic have been nothing short of phenomenal. We are well positioned to take full advantage of our industry recovery, and now is the right time for a handover that we have planned and prepared. I feel very fortunate to hand over the reins to such a clear and capable leader, “he added.
For his part, Robert Isom said: “I am honored to serve as CEO of American Airlines. In recent years, our airline and our industry have undergone a period of transformative change. And with change comes opportunities. Today, our more than 130,000 dedicated team members fly more people than any other US airline in the youngest fleet of any network airline, and we are positioned to continue to lead the industry as travel rebounds. ” also emphasizing his gratitude to Parker for the joint work in these two decades.