American Airlines announced Doug Parker will retire as chief executive officer of American Airlines on March 31, 2022. Robert Isom, currently president of American, will succeed him. Isom also will join the airline’s board of directors on that same date, and Parker will continue to serve as chairman of American’s board.
“I have worked with Robert for two decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next CEO of American Airlines, which is truly the best job in our industry,” Parker said. “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.”
Parker added, “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.”
Isom, who was named president in 2016, brings more than 30 years of global industry and leadership experience across 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, and 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. Looking ahead, I am deeply honored to be working alongside the best team in the industry and know that we will achieve great things together.”
Lead Independent Director John Cahill said, “The board views succession planning as one of our most important mandates, and today’s 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.”
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 and 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.”