Former American CEO Doug Parker Steps Down As Chairman

Former American CEO Doug Parker Steps Down As Chairman

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American Airlines has this week announced that former CEO Doug Parker will be stepping down from his role as chairman.

Doug Parker retiring as chairman of American

As of April 30, 2023, 61-year-old Doug Parker will be stepping down from his current chairman position at American Airlines. 56-year-old Greg Smith will assume the role of chairman as of that time. This is being described as part of the board’s long-term succession planning process.

Smith joined American’s board in January 2022, after spending more than 30 years at Boeing, where he most recently served as EVP and CFO, leading operations, finance, strategy, and shared services organizations. The press release goes on to explain that “he managed Boeing’s overall financial activities and had oversight of the company’s manufacturing, operations, supply chain, quality and program management teams” (is that really something to be proud of and highlight?). 😉

Here’s what Doug Parker had to say about this transition:

“Our CEO transition has been flawless thanks to the great work of Robert Isom, his team and our board. Now is the right time for our chairman transition and we are fortunate to have Greg Smith in place to assume that role. Greg has made outstanding contributions since joining American’s board, and his strong knowledge of the aviation industry and his decades of leadership experience will be invaluable going forward.”

Here’s what Greg Smith had to say about his new role:

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve as a board member and now as chairman of this iconic company. Due to the leadership and dedication of Doug, Robert and the entire American team, we are well-positioned to take the airline to the next level of excellence. The board and I look forward to working with Robert and this great team as we lead American Airlines into the future.”

Meanwhile here’s what American Airlines CEO Robert Isom had to say about this transition:

“The American Airlines team will be forever grateful to Doug for building our airline into what it is today. On a personal note, I’m thankful for Doug’s partnership over the past year as I took on the CEO role. I look forward to continuing to work with the board and Greg in his new role as we shape the American Airlines of the future.”

Doug Parker is fully leaving American as of April 2023

It’s not surprising to see Parker leaving American

Parker had an incredibly long career at American Airlines (and its predecessors), as he was CEO of American from 2013 until 2021. That doesn’t even account for the time he spent as CEO of America West and US Airways, as he collectively spent over 20 years as CEO of those three US airlines, and oversaw two mergers.

So I’m not surprised that he won’t be sticking around as chairman for much longer, as I always got the sense that this was just a temporary role during the transition. Keep in mind that when Parker moved to the role of chairman, he wasn’t given an executive position at the company, unlike what we’ve seen at some other airlines (like Southwest).

I think we’ve seen that with the transition from Doug Parker to Robert Isom as CEO of American, not a whole lot has changed. That’s not too surprising, when you consider how much of American’s senior management team has been working together for decades — American doesn’t do much external hiring for senior positions.

While Robert Isom is CEO, it increasingly seems to me like Vasu Raja is running things in many ways, for better or worse.

Parker spent over 20 years as CEO of US airlines

Bottom line

As of April 2023, Doug Parker will be stepping down as chairman at American Airlines, roughly two years after stepping down as CEO. When Parker retired as CEO of American, it was clear that it would be a fairly swift transition, and I think this reflects that.

The company’s chairman is now former Boeing executive Greg Smith, who was recruited shortly after Parker’s retirement as CEO was revealed.

What do you make of Parker stepping down as American Airlines chairman?

Conversations (17)
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  1. kels2003 Member

    Yikes! The guy who oversaw manufacturing during the MAX disaster … now failing up as chairman.

  2. Shangster11 Guest

    Maybe I missed it, but did you mention AMEX platinum purchase protection program an extended warranty? Those can be worth a significant amount of money for high dollar purchases.

    Correct conclusion…., both cards complement each other.

    1. Shangster11 Guest

      Oops. Sorry wrong post.

  3. Ralph Spielman Guest

    All I know is that American’s merger with US Airways turned them around 180 degrees from being an amazing airline to one whose service on the ground really became deficient. My preferences are now to avoid AA air at all possible. If I want to be abused as a human being, I’ll travel on them. Delta and United are doing a much better job of customer handling.

  4. Eskimo Guest

    Maybe they should have hired Trump.

    At least he can reuse his MAGA policy with the airline.

  5. Dwondermeant Guest

    Post the Dougie Parker departure we are left
    With (quick takeaway)
    tiny hard seats
    Horrible cramped bathrooms for midgets
    Miserable employee morale
    Lousy customer relations
    To many Boeing max jets to crash
    Horrible premium cabin with inedible food
    Over priced award redemption & now so called dynamic pricing
    Subpar lounges with dog food that are mobbed
    Can American still be saved? Or is the new...

    Post the Dougie Parker departure we are left
    With (quick takeaway)
    tiny hard seats
    Horrible cramped bathrooms for midgets
    Miserable employee morale
    Lousy customer relations
    To many Boeing max jets to crash
    Horrible premium cabin with inedible food
    Over priced award redemption & now so called dynamic pricing
    Subpar lounges with dog food that are mobbed
    Can American still be saved? Or is the new boss the same as the old boss?Or yet worse
    I left for another airlines despite 20 years of heavily spending in the past and lifetime status which is a big yawn due to many added tiers
    Sad really

    1. Dave Guest

      The MAX orders did not come from Parker. The MAX orders have been there since the Horton days. And besides that, the MAXes are safe now.

  6. Josh Guest

    Thank goodness! Please right the ship of this once great and iconic airline! The company has been ruined and almost to beyond repair!

    1. Unhoeflich Diamond

      "next level of excellence!"

  7. RF Diamond

    Doug Parker should have been kicked out long ago.

  8. Christian Guest

    Nice guy. Catastrophe as a manager, along with the rest of the America West posse.

  9. Nick Guest

    Re stock questions: I think we should start with insider trading for the policy makers in D.C. and the scam there.

  10. Leo Liang Guest

    Is it like two students who both received grade E are praising each other for not getting an F?

  11. SamB Diamond

    Greg Smith was CFO of Boeing from 2011-2021, during the entirety of the MAX debacle and 787 production issues. Great. I also wonder if we're going to see a preference for Boeing over Airbus for future orders. It almost seems like a conflict of interest to have a former manufacturing exec as an airline chairman, unless he recuses himself from purchasing decisions? Also curious about his stock holdings.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      A non-exec Chairman would not be involved in purchasing decisions. At least shouldn't be. That is management's role. It would be different if he were Chairman and CEO. And so many CEO's, CFO's, etc. serve on other boards. Multiple boards. Owning stock Boeing and serving on AA's board is not a conflict. Maybe it should be, but it is not. A du Pont once was president of GM and CEO/Chairman of du Pont at the...

      A non-exec Chairman would not be involved in purchasing decisions. At least shouldn't be. That is management's role. It would be different if he were Chairman and CEO. And so many CEO's, CFO's, etc. serve on other boards. Multiple boards. Owning stock Boeing and serving on AA's board is not a conflict. Maybe it should be, but it is not. A du Pont once was president of GM and CEO/Chairman of du Pont at the same time. And of course du Pont was a huge supplier of paint to GM. These "conflicts" are nothing new.

  12. D3kingg Guest

    Lord Dougie will be missed. I hope he gets a big pension. At least 10 million for life.

    A lot has happened since he stepped down and Robert isom and vasu raj sinunu stepped in. Why in the world would you form alliances with Jet Blue and Alaskan ? And the laughable international routes attempted ? Where should I start ? Tel Aviv , Athens , Dubrovnik , Keflavik, New Dehli ,…….

    First class...

    Lord Dougie will be missed. I hope he gets a big pension. At least 10 million for life.

    A lot has happened since he stepped down and Robert isom and vasu raj sinunu stepped in. Why in the world would you form alliances with Jet Blue and Alaskan ? And the laughable international routes attempted ? Where should I start ? Tel Aviv , Athens , Dubrovnik , Keflavik, New Dehli ,…….

    First class should have been abolished a long time ago. Especially on the transcon and more premium economy and less business class seats on the wide bodies to increase the seat capacity per aircraft. They’ve gone and done the exact opposite. Revenue out the window with these new 70 business class seat configurations. Laughable.

  13. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    Under Robert Isom it seems AA has done more of the forward leaning changes as an airline. Things like loyalty points and alliances with Alaska and JetBlue. It also seems as operational reliability has been much better during the last year. Don’t take me wrong, there is is still a lot to improve with AA, but it does seem as some improvements are happening and innovation is taking place.

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Dwondermeant Guest

Post the Dougie Parker departure we are left With (quick takeaway) tiny hard seats Horrible cramped bathrooms for midgets Miserable employee morale Lousy customer relations To many Boeing max jets to crash Horrible premium cabin with inedible food Over priced award redemption & now so called dynamic pricing Subpar lounges with dog food that are mobbed Can American still be saved? Or is the new boss the same as the old boss?Or yet worse I left for another airlines despite 20 years of heavily spending in the past and lifetime status which is a big yawn due to many added tiers Sad really

2
Josh Guest

Thank goodness! Please right the ship of this once great and iconic airline! The company has been ruined and almost to beyond repair!

2
Christian Guest

Nice guy. Catastrophe as a manager, along with the rest of the America West posse.

2
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