Delta Poaches Scott Laurence, Key JetBlue Executive

Delta Poaches Scott Laurence, Key JetBlue Executive

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A network planning executive is moving from JetBlue to Delta, but there might be more implications here than meet the eye.

Scott Laurence appointed Delta’s VP of Network Planning

It has been announced that as of January 18, 2022, Scott Laurence will become Delta’s Vice President of Network Planning. He’ll report to Joe Esposito, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Network Planning. He’s tasked with strengthening Delta’s global network and joint venture partnerships while positioning the airline for continued success and long-term growth.

Laurence graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aviation Business Administration, and he has been in the airline industry for more than 25 years. He first worked at US Airways, then at United, and then at JetBlue, where he eventually became the Head of Revenue and Planning, a position he held for three years. On the surface this is a job title downgrade, though Delta is a much bigger global airline, and presumably there’s more growth potential with the airline. Presumably the premium cabin non-rev opportunities are better as well. 😉

Delta has a new VP of Network Planning

Why Laurence moving to Delta is significant

I don’t usually write about airline management appointments, unless it’s a CEO, or unless there are significant implications. Well, this is major.

Laurence is one of the key people behind the strategic alliance between American & JetBlue, which was first announced in 2020. This alliance allows American to increase its long haul network out of New York, while JetBlue largely provides feed for these flights. On the most basic level, this partnership is a way for American to be able to better compete against Delta. Now one of the key people behind that is leaving JetBlue, and going to Delta.

The other major consideration here is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is trying to challenge the alliance between American & JetBlue, arguing that the arrangement is bad for competition. Losing one of the key people behind the alliance while the investigation is ongoing probably isn’t ideal either.

Laurence moving from JetBlue to Delta could have two most significant implications:

  • Laurence knows how American & JetBlue are thinking about the alliance, so he could use that knowledge to let Delta make the first move going forward
  • Laurence has a lot of knowledge of the inner-workings of the alliance, and he could certainly in some way (directly or indirectly) use that to make a stronger case against the American & JetBlue alliance

I think the competition between Delta and the American & JetBlue alliance is about to get a lot more interesting…

Laurence has a lot of knowledge about the American & JetBlue alliance

Bottom line

Scott Laurence has been appointed VP of Network Planning at Delta. Previously he served as Head of Revenue and Planning at JetBlue. Most crucially, Laurence is behind the American & JetBlue strategic alliance, and in his new role he certainly could use his knowledge of that to Delta’s benefit.

What do you make of Laurence moving from JetBlue to Delta, and do you think this will have significant implications for the American & JetBlue alliance?

Conversations (34)
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  1. Lydia Guest

    Well, I am sure going to miss him. He was an asset to JetBlue and hopefully there will be someone as witty and smart to fill his shoes, and I am sure there is. Healthy competition is a good thing. Keeps us all on our toes.

  2. DesertGhost Guest

    Most likely, this is much ado about nothing. The story makes it sound like there are very few competent people working in the airline industry. I tend to think the opposite is true. There are very talented people working at every airline.

  3. Christian Guest

    Are you sure he doesn't have an NDA that he might have signed at Jetblue? This all seems salacious but if he can't disclose the terms of the deal or what the thought process was behind it to his new employers team than it actually becomes a non-story straight away. Even if he does not have an NDA, he might actually be an honest and moral guy and just decide not to disclose the information anyway.

    1. Joseph Guest

      Having personally worked with him I was never terribly impressed with his work, leadership style or morals. He's probably pumped to link up with MSG at LATAM to recreate the old boys club they've had at UA and B6.

    2. AndrewItalia Guest

      I don’t think he and MSG have any love for each other. Agreed on his lack of morals and skills though.

  4. ddrabk Guest

    Wow. Firstt used planes, now used executives. Delta knows how to save money. :-)

  5. Arguendo Guest

    The AA-B6 alliance dates back to Tom Horton. It’s deja vu all over again, at best.

  6. Arguendo Guest

    When is Continental’s Glen Hauenstein leaving?

    1. Bo Hica Guest

      Why leave? He spends all his time working from South Beach.

  7. shoeguy Gold

    You're assuming (incorrectly) that when a key executive departs to a competitor, they subsequently perform a kiss and tell all. That's hardly likely here. While the departure is a blow to B6, and could have some implications for the evolution of the AA/B6 alliance, there is something called non compete clauses and other confidentiality agreements that any executive has to sign so it's not like he's going to march into the C-suite at ATL HQ...

    You're assuming (incorrectly) that when a key executive departs to a competitor, they subsequently perform a kiss and tell all. That's hardly likely here. While the departure is a blow to B6, and could have some implications for the evolution of the AA/B6 alliance, there is something called non compete clauses and other confidentiality agreements that any executive has to sign so it's not like he's going to march into the C-suite at ATL HQ and spill tea on all that has been going on. However, executives moving like this represent challenge and opportunity. Scott Kirby had intimate knowledge of AA that surely helped guide him once he joined UA.

  8. Tim Dunn Gold

    The biggest implication is probably not what Laurence will tell Delta but that he is no longer available to JetBlue and American which are in the process of having to defend their Northeast Alliance to the DOJ.

    He clearly left for reasons that only he knows. He could
    1. want more money and Delta could give that to him along w/ the potential to grow in a much bigger and more profitable airline -...

    The biggest implication is probably not what Laurence will tell Delta but that he is no longer available to JetBlue and American which are in the process of having to defend their Northeast Alliance to the DOJ.

    He clearly left for reasons that only he knows. He could
    1. want more money and Delta could give that to him along w/ the potential to grow in a much bigger and more profitable airline - both in terms of margin and absolute dollars.
    2. He is tired of playing defensive to Delta's moves; a few years ago , B6 execs said that Boston was their most profitable hub by margin and now Delta set to surpass B6 by the summer in local market revenue based on schedules that have been filed.
    3. He may know that the NEA will not stand based on conversations he has had with the DOJ and doesn't want to have the failure attached to his resume.
    4. He could be sick of NYC and can have a higher QOL in Georgia.

    Either way, yes, this is as significant as Scott Kirby leaving American for United. And anyone that doesn't think that he is using what he knew about American in his job at United is very naive.

    1. shoeguy Gold

      Plenty would argue that it is DL playing defense in BOS, and not B6.

    2. Tim Dunn Gold

      Given that Delta's local revenue share reached parity with JetBlue in Boston before the pandemic and the schedules that have been loaded say they will sustain parity or surpass it on an ongoing basis, it is JetBlue on the defense.
      You could argue that Delta is on the defense in NYC which is where AA and B6 are focusing because AA hasn't competed successfully with Delta and hasn't used their slots properly which is...

      Given that Delta's local revenue share reached parity with JetBlue in Boston before the pandemic and the schedules that have been loaded say they will sustain parity or surpass it on an ongoing basis, it is JetBlue on the defense.
      You could argue that Delta is on the defense in NYC which is where AA and B6 are focusing because AA hasn't competed successfully with Delta and hasn't used their slots properly which is why the DOT attached improved slot usage as part of its approval of the NEA.
      The question still comes down to whether AA can really subcontract its coastal flying out to low cost carriers on both the east and west coasts, esp. when using B6 which consistently one of the lowest on-time performances in the industry and does not offer premium domestic cabins other than Mint.
      The NEA was born out of AA's inability to compete and there is no assurance that it will come close to the unified networks of DL and UA.
      I agree with you that the chances of Laurence spilling the beans about what he knows is not as big of a threat as some believe but not because of an non-compete clause but because Delta probably knows and knew what AA/B6 were/is going to do.
      The bigger hit to B6 is that they lost a key player at a time when they have to not just build the NEA but defend it before the DOJ.

    3. Bo Hica Guest

      You’re basing the revenue shares on what? Besides being a fanboy?

    4. Tim Dunn Gold

      The US DOT data samples revenue from all tickets that are flown by US carriers as well as foreign carriers that have joint ventures with US airlines.

    5. Jim Guest

      There's no chance DL rather than B6 is playing defense in BOS. I'm a long-term B6 flier that recently converted to DL in BOS, for nearly a decade B6 was really the only show in town for most fliers not on corporate contracts (and even for many that were). The pandemic hit DL more than B6 in Boston, but that's a function of DL having a more European focus.

    6. Jake Guest

      And that’s obviously what’s happening in Boston, Delta clearly on the defense given much much fewer gates relative to AA/B6, but not in Tim Dunn fantasyland. In that passport plum-hazed fairytale, delta is constantly on the offense and never behind. He has an amazing ability to pluck obscure useless data and somehow turn it into “delta has more local market share going to Atlanta than JetBlue in Boston” and turn it into a Delta success...

      And that’s obviously what’s happening in Boston, Delta clearly on the defense given much much fewer gates relative to AA/B6, but not in Tim Dunn fantasyland. In that passport plum-hazed fairytale, delta is constantly on the offense and never behind. He has an amazing ability to pluck obscure useless data and somehow turn it into “delta has more local market share going to Atlanta than JetBlue in Boston” and turn it into a Delta success story.

      “How to lie with data, episode 4,782” by tim Dunn

    7. Tim Dunn Gold

      In other words you don't like the data that is provided to the DOT, to the SEC and which investors use.
      JetBlue, like Delta, are for profit companies. Their first job is to make money for its investors.
      This isn't an emotional or biased discussion. This really is about facts and data whether you like them or not.
      As noted above, B6 was the only show in town in Boston for years...

      In other words you don't like the data that is provided to the DOT, to the SEC and which investors use.
      JetBlue, like Delta, are for profit companies. Their first job is to make money for its investors.
      This isn't an emotional or biased discussion. This really is about facts and data whether you like them or not.
      As noted above, B6 was the only show in town in Boston for years after Delta (and USAirways) pulled down Boston post 9/11 in order to protect their other hubs including NYC for DL.
      Delta has significantly gained passenger and revenue share and they continue to add flights despite people stating they are out of gates.
      Given B6' persistently low on-time, lack of legacy carrier amenities, and global network, plenty of passengers are switching to Delta.
      American and JetBlue are using the NEA to try to grow in NYC and B6 is making LGA the first priority in its route efforts - in order to use slots which AA has not been able to profitably use.
      Actual schedules, not anyone's bias, shows that DL will have a higher percentage of capacity relative to B6 by this summer than the two have ever had in that city.
      Given that Delta gets a substantial revenue premium per seat - and also uses widebody aircraft - Delta will surpass JetBlue as the largest airline in Boston local revenue this summer.

      Whether you accept the facts to come up with those statements is immaterial. JetBlue is playing defense in Boston while Delta and United will be doing it in NYC, even though American and JetBlue combined (even if the NEA survives) will be smaller on routes covered by the NEA than DL and UA.

      So, B6 is allowing Delta to grow in BOS in order to pursue growth in NYC that may not survive depending on the outcome of the NEA.

      As much as you struggle to accept these realities, Laurence most certainly understands them.

      I'm glad you keep track of what I write.

    8. Jake Guest

      And there’s the usual Tim Dunn sign off “as much as you hate to accept…”

      Lol. There’s no “accepting the facts”, Tim. There’s seeing your passport-plum drivel all over the internet and watching you do your usual “delta is awesome; aa is the worst company to ever exist” nonsense over and over plucking obscure useless data to make a larger point that can’t be made.

      The NEA is bigger than delta in Boston. In...

      And there’s the usual Tim Dunn sign off “as much as you hate to accept…”

      Lol. There’s no “accepting the facts”, Tim. There’s seeing your passport-plum drivel all over the internet and watching you do your usual “delta is awesome; aa is the worst company to ever exist” nonsense over and over plucking obscure useless data to make a larger point that can’t be made.

      The NEA is bigger than delta in Boston. In every metric. Period.

      It never ceases to amaze how much of an obsession you have with the company that fired you, Delta. Perhaps you should look in the mirror about credibility and facts since even delta didn’t think you had any.

    9. Tim Dunn Gold

      check back on this thread after Delta and JetBlue report their most recent financial results.
      The former will start this week.

    10. Jake Guest

      Don't be ridiculous. Financial results for the full year have nothing to do with the silly points you were trying to make about Delta being bigger in Boston or the useless data you were trying to throw at others to try to make a point that can't be made. There are many many structural reasons, primarily cost and monopoly markets/pricing, that Delta does well in financial metrics. Trying to salvage your poor arguments by going...

      Don't be ridiculous. Financial results for the full year have nothing to do with the silly points you were trying to make about Delta being bigger in Boston or the useless data you were trying to throw at others to try to make a point that can't be made. There are many many structural reasons, primarily cost and monopoly markets/pricing, that Delta does well in financial metrics. Trying to salvage your poor arguments by going to an entirely different conversation, financial performance across the entire airline, is just a distraction from the conversations you started, hoping you could do your usual "pluck unrelated data to make a point and hope no one notices" but can't back up. Plus, if you were as much of a financial person as you claim to be, you'd already know that all the airlines have already guided to their results before reporting so we already know the high-level financial results.

      The conversation was never about financial performance. Don't distract with a new topic when you get called out.

    11. Jake Guest

      You really need a job other than trolling every message board on the internet that pertains to delta and pushing your usual delta nonsense.

    12. Bo Hica Guest

      He absolutely has to testify for the DOJ, regardless if he is at JetBlue, Delta, or even PIA. That doesn’t change simply because he left JetBlue. He’s likely already been deposed numerous times, and as part of the DOJ record would be called to testify in the formal proceedings, in which he previously sworn deposition testimony would be referenced.

    13. Tim Dunn Gold

      the strategies are JetBlue's not his own. He can and will say only what he knew as of the date he left but that still could be very significant not just for JetBlue but also for American.
      Further, the fact that he isn't at B6 anymore makes it much harder for him to argue that the information is protected.

      As I noted originally, the biggest hindrance moving to Delta does is hinder AA and...

      the strategies are JetBlue's not his own. He can and will say only what he knew as of the date he left but that still could be very significant not just for JetBlue but also for American.
      Further, the fact that he isn't at B6 anymore makes it much harder for him to argue that the information is protected.

      As I noted originally, the biggest hindrance moving to Delta does is hinder AA and B6 to not just develop the Northeast Alliance but also to defend it. Whether he shares market knowledge with Delta - which he will likely be discouraged from doing - is immaterial.

    14. MaxPower Guest

      You do realize he wasn't the only one working on the NEA at B6 or AA? While it's not surprising coming from Tim Dunn, it's comical that you think the departure of one person is going to prevent AA/B6 from developing the NEA, as planned.

      And as others have said, if the DOJ wants him to testify, he'll testify. Moving to Delta doesn't make immune from the Department of Justice.

    15. Chester Cheetah Guest

      So if the strategies are JetBlue’s and not his, then he’s not that great of a loss (or gain for Delta), is he?

      In any event, as the other poster noted. he’s bound under any number of legal obligations to earnestly participate in the legal action, including perjuring himself if he alluded to or outright said while being deposed by the DOJ that he knew certain strategies or material information.

      But I’m just a lawyer, what would I know?

  9. uldguy Diamond

    Good catch on DL’s part. Congratulations to both of them.

  10. Roberto Guest

    Is it me, or is Delta all about back-door shady stuff? First LATAM, now this.

    1. BenjaminGuttery New Member

      Agreed!

  11. Alan Guest

    Most likely DL admire Laurence for his vision and leadership building the alliance. Using any sort of insider knowledge of B6’s workings to benefit DL is a big no-no; airlines want to be above reproach when it comes to possible collusion/price fixing claims, so likely Laurence keeps his mouth shut on that.

    1. Kiwi Member

      Completely agree. The airlines all remember the Air Cargo price fixing case and continuing lawsuits. Delta I don’t believe was one of the 40 defendants and certainly has controls in place to prevent something similar happening

    2. Bo Hica Guest

      You do know that he still has a legal obligation to testify at the DOJ proceedings, right? Does anyone do any actual research over there?

      Anyways, good luck Scott playing on the third string at Delta. Guess we wont be hearing him on the Delta earnings calls.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jake Guest

You really need a job other than trolling every message board on the internet that pertains to delta and pushing your usual delta nonsense.

2
Alan Guest

Most likely DL admire Laurence for his vision and leadership building the alliance. Using any sort of insider knowledge of B6’s workings to benefit DL is a big no-no; airlines want to be above reproach when it comes to possible collusion/price fixing claims, so likely Laurence keeps his mouth shut on that.

2
Jake Guest

Don't be ridiculous. Financial results for the full year have nothing to do with the silly points you were trying to make about Delta being bigger in Boston or the useless data you were trying to throw at others to try to make a point that can't be made. There are many many structural reasons, primarily cost and monopoly markets/pricing, that Delta does well in financial metrics. Trying to salvage your poor arguments by going to an entirely different conversation, financial performance across the entire airline, is just a distraction from the conversations you started, hoping you could do your usual "pluck unrelated data to make a point and hope no one notices" but can't back up. Plus, if you were as much of a financial person as you claim to be, you'd already know that all the airlines have already guided to their results before reporting so we already know the high-level financial results. The conversation was never about financial performance. Don't distract with a new topic when you get called out.

1
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