Doug Parker to Step Down as American Airlines Chairman

By Paul Riegler on 24 February 2023
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American Airlines and US Airways announced their plans to merge on February 14, 2013.

Doug Parker, the airline executive who built American Airlines into the world’s largest airline through several strategic mergers, is retiring as chairman ending a career in the airline industry that spanned five decades.

Parker joined American in 1986 as a financial analyst and left in 1991 to join Northwest Airlines as part of a team that would track profits on a flight-by-flight basis.  He moved to America West airlines in 1995 as CFO and later became its CEO.  That airline gobbled up US Airways in 2005 with Parker as CEO of the combined entity, which then made an unsuccessful bid for Delta Air Lines, a move that was followed by another unsuccessful bid for United Airlines.

Under Parker’s leadership, US Airways successfully merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the combined entity, which kept the American name, became the world’s largest airline, a title it has held onto for almost a decade.

Parker turned the CEO mantle over to then president Robert Isom last year.

In a written statement Thursday, Parker said the handoff to Isom had been “flawless,” adding that the time wasright to turn over the chairmanship to someone else as well.

Greg Smith, a former Boeing CFO who joined American’s board last year, has been named to the position of non-executive chairman effective April 30.

“The American Airlines team will be forever grateful to Doug for building our airline into what it is today,” Isom said in a statement. “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.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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