Over the last week or so, we’ve seen announcements from just about everyone in the new American/US Airways leadership team talking about who will report directly to each of them. While the initial leadership team was primarily made up of US Airways folks, the split is now much more even in the VP/Managing Director ranks, as you would expect (and hope). I went through and created org charts for each one, only excluding some of the more transitional positions as I’ll explain. Here they are in no particular order. Though I will admit that I saved the most interesting for last.
On the HR side of the house, you can see there are a lot of American people in charge. I don’t know a ton about the HR functions at either airline, so maybe some employees have opinions to share in the comments. On the communications side, leadership is coming from US Airways and that is a good thing. But what I found even more promising was that US Airways has already snagged Chris Kelly Singley away from Delta to be the MD of corporate communications under John McDonald. I think Delta has one of the best corp comm groups in the business, and this moves shows that US Airways recognizes that and wants to improve on what it has today.
While Chris technically works for US Airways, it’s stated that she will “play a key role in combining the US Airways and American Airlines communications departments to support the new airline.” To be clear, this doesn’t mean she’s the only person reporting to John, but her position was announced in a press release while no others have been yet, so I figured I’d add it in here.
The ops group is so freakin’ big that I had to break it into two charts. In the first one, you can see that there is now one person in charge of the customer experience, as she is at US Airways today. But under her, it’s split between American and US Airways. The only one I know well is Tim Lindeman over reservations, and that is a good choice. I actually think the res teams do a good job at both airlines.
Then the ops team is broken down geographically to serve the airport functions. Each current hub VP will remain in that role (not on the chart). Internationally, there are two groupings and both leaders make a ton of sense. The person in charge of the monstrous Latin operation comes from American, as you would hope. Asia, Europe, Canada, and then oddly, Cargo get lumped in under Suzanne Boda from US Airways. Clearly Europe is the big dog here for US Airways and Suzanne runs that today from Philly where she’s based. I’m not sure why cargo falls under her as well, but Jim Butler from American is running cargo under her and he comes from American. Granted, he was in the commercial planning and performance group at American so I’m not really sure how that translates.
In the second half of the chart, you can see that the regional carrier leader comes from American. Dan Garton, the current president of American Eagle, however, is gone as was announced previously. Instead, the current cargo boss at American, Kenji Hashimoto, will take over. He has no regional experience from what I can tell, so this is a curious move. Under him, there are presidents of each of the wholly-owned regionals as there are today.
Someone who does have regional experience will be the guy running Air Operations for the airline, Tim Campbell. At least, he’s being brought in as a consultant initially but then he’s expected to move into that role after the merger is complete. He has a long history at Northwest and ultimately at its Compass subsidiary so I’m sure Robert Isom knows him well from his days there. Under Tim, Hector Adler will run the inflight service group, and I think he’s done an excellent job doing the same at US Airways today. Maybe some US Airways flight attendants will give their thoughts in the comments. The person who runs the operations center for American today will continue in that role. I don’t know much about him, but I’ll sure miss Bob Maloney, the man who has that role for US Airways today. You’ll notice I left out the VP Flight position (the man in charge of the pilot group). That’s because both the guys from US Airways and American will remain until the groups are merged.
Lastly, David Seymour from US Airways will lead the maintenance group with line maintenance being run by someone from US Airways and base maintenance being run by someone from American. I left out the engineering and quality roles because the people doing it today from both airlines will remain in their positions for now. I assume there will be a death match with the winner keeping the job.
I left out a couple of other positions on this chart because they are transitional. Paul Morell from US Airways is retiring as VP of safety, security, and environmental programs but they don’t have a replacement so he’ll hang around until they find one. Also, Ed Bular from US Airways will stay with the airline to get to a single operating certificate. He’ll leave when that’s done.
Finance is also a combination of people at both airlines. Honestly, I’m not sure that I have anything to add to this one. Hooray, finance.
I love the name of this group. It sounds half like a super top secret organization and half incredibly boring. No offense to those in the group, but it really leans toward the latter. It’s basically all the lawyers and lobbyists with a mix coming from both airlines. You’ll also see that labor relations falls into this group and that position will be filled by Al Hemenway, the man who does it at US Airways today.
Revenue and Marketing Group
I saved the most interesting one for last. This is what you might hear called the “commercial” group internationally, and it’s where I spent my airline career. You might be surprised to see the revenue management chief coming from American, but wait, the US Airways VP is sticking around for some time as well. Both will report directly to Scott Kirby. I think Tom Trenga may have the most cringe-worthy title in the organization – SVP Revenue Synergy Capture. That being said, it should be an important position. I don’t know how long he’ll hang around (but I bet it’s awhile) or what this means for sharing revenue management duties, but this is an interesting one.
Perhaps more interesting is what’s happening in the rest of the group. I’m a little surprised to see Andrew Nocella as chief marketing officer. I’m not surprised at all that he has schedule planning, alliances, and even digital channels (whatever that may mean) under him, but you won’t hear anyone suggesting that US Airways is a marketing powerhouse under him today. Then again, I don’t know that you’d hear anyone say that about American either.
But it’s not just Andrew. Fern Fernandez at US Airways will be running the global marketing team. Maybe Fern has just been hamstrung by a lack of budget at US Airways and he’ll actually be able to do great things at the new airline. I’m going to have to wait and see on that one.
Derek DeCross from American is going to stay in charge of sales. I was really curious what they’d do here, because American and US Airways seem to have a constant battle to see who has the worst sales team reputation in the US. I’m not sure if existing management from either side is going to fix that issue. I half-expected to see someone from the outside come in here, but I guess Derek will have his shot.
Let’s end on a good note. Suzanne Rubin will remain in charge of AAdvantage. This is a good move that everyone who cares about miles should be happy about.
So there you have it. If you’ve made it this far into the post, you probably work for the airline. If that’s the case, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments. Good? Bad? Ugly?