Japan Airlines has just appointed a new president, and she has a unique background…
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Tottori Mitsuko appointed president of Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines has announced that as of April 1, 2024, 59-year-old Tottori Mitsuko will become the company’s new president. Akasaka Yuji, the company’s current president, will become chairperson of JAL Group (as the current chairperson retires from that role).
There are a couple of things that make Mitsuko’s appointment noteworthy. For one, she’ll be the first-ever female president of a major Japanese airline, so that’s pretty cool.
Perhaps what’s even more interesting is her professional background. Mitsuko has been at Japan Airlines since 1985, so she started there when she was 20 years old, and is about to celebrate her 40th anniversary at the company.
Mitsuko spent 20 years as a flight attendant at the airline, as she held that role from 1985 until 2005. Since then, she has worked in a variety of management roles. From 2005 to 2022, she worked in roles primarily related to flight attendants and cabin safety. Then in 2023, she took on an executive role in customer experience and brand communication.
This is an interesting executive appointment
First of all, it’s nice to see a company appoint such a loyal and long serving employee to lead the airline. Nearly 40 years is a very long time to work at one place, and it’s especially cool that she has spent over half of her career working in customer facing roles.
The company explains that with this change in management, it “will strive in unity towards ensuring the highest level of safety in all flight operations, continue to improve the quality of the products and services to valued customers, and raise its corporate value and contribute to the growth and development of society.”
Now, there’s no denying that her work experience is unconventional when it comes to leading an airline. Her experience has been pretty heavily focused on employees, safety, and customer experience. That’s in contrast to most executives we see appointed, who might more experience with pricing, network planning, legal, etc.
I can’t help but wonder if this appointment might have something to do with Japan Airlines’ recent A350 accident at Tokyo Haneda. After all, her experience is heavily focused on flight attendants and cabin safety, and the first priority is explained as ensuring “the highest level of safety in all flight operations.”
I imagine it’s really inspiring to a lot of frontline employees to see “one of them” appointed to role of president, so I’m excited to see how the airline does under her leadership.
Japan Airlines has appointed Tottori Mitsuko as the company’s new president. Not only is she the first female president of a Japanese airline, but she has also been incredibly loyal, and has worked at the company for nearly 40 years. She spent more than half of her career working as a flight attendant, and since then, she has largely been in roles related to managing flight attendants and cabin safety.
What do you make of Japan Airlines’ new president?