American Airlines CEO Doug Parker to retire; AA Pres. Robert Isom to takeover

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American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) announced that Douglas Parker will retire from his role as CEO of the airline on March 31, 2022. 

In the same announcement, which was released on December 7, 2021, the airline also said that Robert Isom, current president of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), will succeed Parker. Isom will also join the airline’s board of directors. Parker will continue to support the airline as chairman of American’s board in March 2022. 

In a video announcement, Parker said that the airline had prepared for the succession for at least several years, and if not for the pandemic, the transition would have likely occurred sooner. 

“I have worked with Robert for two decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next CEO of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), which is truly the best job in our industry,” Parker said in an airline statement. 

“Robert is a collaborative leader with deep operational expertise and global industry experience. 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. I feel extremely fortunate to hand the reins to this clear and capable leader.”

“It has been the privilege of my life to serve for 20 years as an airline CEO. 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,” Parker added.

Isom was named president of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) in 2016 and has 30 years of global industry experience across finance, operations, planning, marketing, sales, alliances, pricing and revenue management. 

“I am humbled to serve as CEO of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL),” Isom said in the video announcement.

“Over the past several years, our airline and our industry have gone through a period of transformative change. And with change comes opportunity. Today, our more than 130,000 dedicated team members fly more people than any other U.S. airline on the youngest fleet of all the network carriers, and we are positioned to continue to lead the industry as travel rebounds.”

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Robert Isom, left and Doug Parker. Image from American Airlines (A1G) (AAL)

As current president of the airline, Isom oversees American’s operations, planning, marketing, sales, alliances and pricing. 

Isom previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at American after holding the same position at US Airways. Prior to joining US Airways, he held senior executive operations, finance and commercial roles at GMAC, LLC., Northwest Airlines and America West Airlines. He started his career at The Procter & Gamble Company. Isom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.

 As Chairman and CEO of the airline, Doug Parker oversees American Airlines Group and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), its principal subsidiary company. Previously, Parker was Chairman and CEO of US Airways. Before the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines in 2005, Parker was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of America West. He became the CEO at America West just 10 days before Sept. 11, 2001, and led the carrier through the crisis. His experience prior to joining America West in 1995 includes four years with Northwest Airlines as Vice President, Assistant Treasurer and Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis. From 1986 to 1991, he held a number of financial management positions with American.

Parker is on the board of Airlines for America (A4A) and also sits on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors and oneworld Governing Board. Parker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Albion College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University.

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