MIAMI – A change of leadership is in store at American Airlines Group, inc. Effective March 31, 2022, Robert Isom will succeed Doug Parker as chief executive officer. Parker, who is retiring, will continue to serve as chairman of American’s board. Isom will join the board on that date.
“I have worked with Robert for two decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next CEO of American Airlines. It is truly the best job in our industry,” Parker said in a news release. “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. 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.”
Isom, named president in 2016, brings more than 30 years of global industry and leadership experience. He has worked in finance, operations, planning, marketing, sales, alliances, pricing and revenue management.
“I am humbled to serve as CEO of American Airlines,” said Isom. “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. We are positioned to continue to lead the industry as travel rebounds.”
Isom added, “I want to thank Doug for his partnership over the past two decades. He is a leader and teacher who inspires all around him and leaves an incredible legacy at American and in our industry. I am deeply honored to be working alongside the best team in the industry and know that we will achieve great things together.”
According to the airline’s statement, the board views succession planning as one of its most important mandates. This announcement represents the culmination of a thoughtful and well-crafted succession planning process.
“Robert is an excellent team builder who has worked to bring people together throughout his career. He is the right leader to carry American forward into its next period of growth,” said Lead Independent Director John Cahill.
Cahill concluded, “Over the span of his 35-year career, Doug has been an architect and advocate for a more vibrant, resilient and secure aviation industry. At American, Doug has overseen unprecedented investment in our team and our product. He set the standard for servant leadership, tirelessly championing our people and establishing an accessible and inclusive culture. We look forward to continuing to benefit from Doug’s sound judgement, deep industry knowledge, persistence and optimism as chairman of our board.”