American Airlines’ parent names board members



US Airways CEO Doug Parker, right, and American CEO Tom Horton at news conference Feb. 14. Photo by LM Otero


A. Lee Graham Reporter

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AMR Corp., the Fort Worth-based parent company of American Airlines Inc., and US Airways Group Inc. on Monday announced board members of American Airlines Group Inc., the combined company. Serving as board chairman of the 12-member board will be Thomas Horton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AMR. Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of US Airways Group, will serve as CEO and board member. Parker will assume the position of board chairman following the conclusion of Horton’s service. Rounding out the new board are John T. Cahill, lead independent director; James F. Albaugh; Jeffrey D. Benjamin; Michael J. Embler; Matthew J. Hart; Alberto Ibarguen; Richard C. Kraemer; Denise M. O’Leary; Ray M. Robinson; and Richard P. Schifter. As previously announced, AMR and US Airways agreed to combine to create the new American Airlines. Headquartered in Fort Worth, the new American Airlines is expected to become a competitive consumer alternative to other global carriers and is expected to offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries. Together, American Airlines and US Airways are expected to operate a mainline fleet of almost 950 aircraft and employ more than 100,000 team members worldwide. The merger is subject to regulatory approvals, approval by US Airways shareholders, other customary closing conditions and confirmation of American Airlines’ plan of reorganization by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The selection process for the board of directors was established pursuant to the merger agreement. In addition to the continuing directors selected by each of the two companies, an eight-member search committee designated by representatives of the creditors’ committee and the ad hoc committee of AMR Creditors, among other things, selected five new directors, including the new lead independent director. The firm Heidrick & Struggles was retained to assist with the process. The decisions of the search committee were approved on a consensual basis by all eight search committee members.  

US Airways dominates post-merger leadership DAVID KOENIG


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DALLAS (AP) — The new American Airlines will have more top executives from smaller but more successful US Airways than from the current American.

Five US Airways executives will follow their current CEO, Doug Parker, when he takes control after the airlines complete their proposed merger. Three executives from American parent AMR Corp. were named to the new company’s leadership team.

AMR and US Airways Group Inc. hope to complete their proposed merger this summer. The deal still needs approval by U.S. antitrust regulators and AMR’s bankruptcy creditors.

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Although AMR creditors and shareholders will own 72 percent of the new company, and it will still be based in Fort Worth, Texas, the makeup of the executive team underscores that it was Parker who drove the merger and convinced AMR’s unions and creditors to support him.

US Airways veterans will hold the most important management jobs including president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer. The new company’s 12-member board will have four holdovers from US Airways and three from AMR.

AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. For many months, CEO Tom Horton considered the idea of emerging from Chapter 11 as a stand-alone company, not a merger partner, but creditors decided otherwise. Horton will serve briefly as chairman of the new company — to be called American Airlines Group Inc. — before exiting next year.

The senior executives joining from US Airways are Scott Kirby, who will keep his title of president, Derek Kerr as chief financial officer, Robert Isom as chief operating officer, and Elise Eberwein and Stephen Johnson as executive vice presidents.

From AMR’s ranks, Parker and Horton picked Beverly Goulet as chief integration officer, Maya Leibman as chief information officer, and William Ris as senior vice president of government affairs.

Another AMR veteran, Daniel Garton, will step down as CEO of American’s regional-flying affiliate American Eagle later this year, the companies said. No immediate successor was named.

Several top AMR executives were passed over and will leave, including chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi, CFO Bella Goren and senior vice president for people Denise Lynn.

“Mergers unfortunately result in departures, and there are some on both teams,” Parker wrote in a note Monday to employees of both companies.

AMR turned down interview requests for several of the departing executives.

US Airways is only half as big as American in miles flown by passengers, the usual standard by which airlines are measured. At the start of 2013, US Airways had 340 planes while American had 614. It also has fewer than half as many employees.

US Airways, however, has been more successful. Analysts credit Parker for squeezing record profits from an airline that has an inferior route network compared with the larger United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Last year, US Airways earned $637 million compared with AMR’s bankruptcy loss of $1.9 billion. In the past five years, including a recession and high fuel prices that battered the industry, US Airways lost $1.2 billion, but AMR lost $7.2 billion.

American’s unions have long fought with their company’s management over pay and other issues, and they were eager to see a shake-up. The Allied Pilots Association praised the future management.

“This shows that a culture change is happening at American,” Dennis Tajer, a pilots’ union spokesman, said in an interview. “This can only increase employees’ enthusiasm and have a positive effect on customer service.”