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Former American Airlines CEO Doug Parker Steps Down As Chairman

The former CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker, has announced he will be stepping down as chairman of the company's board of directors. As part of the airline's long-term succession planning, Parker will be replaced by Greg Smith on April 30th, 2023.

Smith joined American Airlines' board of directors in January 2022. Prior to that, he enjoyed a 30-year career at Boeing, where he most recently served as the company's executive vice president and CFO.

In that role, he managed Boeing's overall financial activities during what has arguably been the most turbulent period in the manufacturer's history, including the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, the pandemic, and delays to Boeing 787 deliveries.

Confidence in Greg Smith's leadership

Outgoing chairman, Doug Parker, praised Smith and the rest of the airline's senior leadership team, saying,

“Our CEO transition has been flawless thanks to the great work of Robert Isom, his team, and our board. Now is the right time for our chairman transition, and we are fortunate to have Greg Smith in place to assume that role. Greg has made outstanding contributions since joining American’s board, and his strong knowledge of the aviation industry and his decades of leadership experience will be invaluable going forward.”

In return, Smith outlined his commitment to the airline and its future, adding,

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve as a board member and now as chairman of this iconic company. Due to the leadership and dedication of Doug, Robert, and the entire American team, we are well-positioned to take the airline to the next level of excellence. The board and I look forward to working with Robert and this great team as we lead American Airlines into the future.”

Doug Parker's 37-year career in aviation

Doug Parker joined American Airlines in 1986 as a financial analyst. He then moved to Northwest Airlines and later to America West Airlines, where he progressed up the ranks to become the carrier's CEO just prior to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Under Parker's leadership, the airline was the first to be granted vital federal loans to get through the subsequent downturn in the aviation industry.

When America West Airlines merged with US Airways, Parker remained in the position of CEO. Then, following US Airways' merger with American Airlines in December 2013, he became CEO of the largest airline in the world. Until the pandemic struck, the airline enjoyed a period of substantial growth and profitability throughout Parker's tenure.

When Parker stepped down from the role in March 2022, he was replaced by Robert Isom, American Airlines' current CEO. Isom recognized Parker for his contribution to the airline's success, saying,

“The American Airlines team will be forever grateful to Doug for building our airline into what it is today. On a personal note, I’m thankful for Doug’s partnership over the past year as I took on the CEO role. I look forward to continuing to work with the board and Greg in his new role as we shape the American Airlines of the future.”

In further changes to American Airlines' board of directors, both Ray Robinson and Jim Albaugh will also step down this spring at the end of their current term.

What do you make of the changes to American Airlines' board of directors? What impact do you think this will have on the airline? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

This article originally appeared on Simple Flying

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