Executive Moves From JetBlue, To Delta, To American… In Just Two Months!

Executive Moves From JetBlue, To Delta, To American… In Just Two Months!

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This has to be one of the most interesting career progressions we’ve ever seen at a US airline. Over the course of two months, an executive has gone from working for JetBlue, to working for Delta, to working for American. This latest move was rumored last week, but has now been officially confirmed by American.

Scott Laurence lands job at American

In January I wrote about how Delta appointed Scott Laurence as Vice President of Network Planning. What made this so noteworthy is that Laurence was previously a JetBlue executive, and was one of the key people behind the strategic alliance between American & JetBlue.

This alliance was essentially intended to allow American and JetBlue to better compete against Delta in New York. His move from JetBlue to Delta was significant, especially as the Department of Justice is currently challenging this alliance.

A few weeks after starting his job at Delta, Laurence resigned. Many wondered what would happen next — had be burned too many bridges, or was there more to the story? Laurence has now accepted a job at American, where we’ll have the job title of Senior Vice President of Partnership Strategy. Laurence will begin his new role later in March, and will report to Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Commercial Officer.

As Raja describes this appointment:

“Scott will oversee the team responsible for all of American’s commercial partnerships, including distribution strategy, currency and loyalty partnerships, and global airline partnerships. Scott is a bold and innovative leader and we are eager for him to take all of our enterprise partnerships to the next level for our customers and our airline.”

Laurence graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and has been in the airline industry for more than 25 years, including at US Airways, United Airlines, and JetBlue. American conveniently leaves out Laurence’s brief stint at Delta in the press release. 😉

Laurence is starting a job at American Airlines

How exactly did this all play out?

When it was announced that Laurence resigned, I shared the three most likely scenarios of what happened:

  • Laurence immediately decided Delta wasn’t a good fit for him
  • Delta decided Laurence wasn’t a good fit for the airline
  • While you’d think this would have been crystal clear prior to him departing JetBlue, perhaps there was some sort of non-compete clause (or something) that caused a major issues for the prospect of Laurence working at Delta, given his knowledge of the American & JetBlue alliance

The last option seems like the most likely explanation to me. Still, I can’t help but wonder how exactly he ended up at American:

  • I imagine JetBlue didn’t want to rehire him after he left the airline
  • Laurence definitely presents less of a threat to JetBlue at American than at Delta (assuming there was an NDA issue here)
  • Interestingly Laurence’s role at American doesn’t involve network planning (unlike what he did at JetBlue, and what the plan was at Delta), so I wonder if that’s a coincidence or intentional
Laurence will be responsible for oneworld partnerships

Bottom line

A senior JetBlue executive left the airline in January and was poached by Delta. That didn’t last long, as within a few weeks it was announced that he had resigned. Now it has been revealed that he’s taking a job at American, where he’ll oversee the carrier’s partnership strategy.

What do you make of this situation?

Conversations (27)
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  1. digital_notmad New Member

    Either this guy is in flagrant violation of multiple NDAs, or airline legal departments are asleep at the wheel.

  2. Chase Guest

    Seems the more likely scenario was AA quickly got wind of his appointment at Delta, and proactively sought/poached/stole (whatever term you want to use) him away from Delta before he could do any real damage to the AA/B6 lovefest. Money talks...BS walks.

  3. James Guest

    Is it possible that Delta poached him from jetBlue, and American just poached him from Delta for even more money?

  4. LCFA Guest

    Off topic…apologies.

    American Airlines sent me the most interesting email (I’m a very frequent flyer).

    They asked so many questions regarding their long-haul premium cabin catering…with the obvious effort to catch up with Qatar, and maybe world-leading.

    Endless questions about how to improve their catering.

    Shocking and great.

    As such a frequent flyer, I’ve noticed that AA tries to match their partners. In some cases, it’s actually a lower standard, but as of today, AA...

    Off topic…apologies.

    American Airlines sent me the most interesting email (I’m a very frequent flyer).

    They asked so many questions regarding their long-haul premium cabin catering…with the obvious effort to catch up with Qatar, and maybe world-leading.

    Endless questions about how to improve their catering.

    Shocking and great.

    As such a frequent flyer, I’ve noticed that AA tries to match their partners. In some cases, it’s actually a lower standard, but as of today, AA seems to be trying for a higher standard.

    1. John Guest

      @LCFA

      I'd be interested in the questions asked, as well as your responses. But this sounds like the usual AA cheapskate method of sending out an email questionnaire. An airline of substance (which clearly rules out AA) would have invited select frequent fliers to a 'tasting event' to sample proposed new/improved catering; and then conducted on-the-spot feedback sessions. Using that instantaneous input, refinements and other changes would be done. It's all a very 'hands-on' and...

      @LCFA

      I'd be interested in the questions asked, as well as your responses. But this sounds like the usual AA cheapskate method of sending out an email questionnaire. An airline of substance (which clearly rules out AA) would have invited select frequent fliers to a 'tasting event' to sample proposed new/improved catering; and then conducted on-the-spot feedback sessions. Using that instantaneous input, refinements and other changes would be done. It's all a very 'hands-on' and involved process. But the results are worthwhile. I can't imagine north American carriers doing this, at least not on a meaningful or sustained basis. And certainly not the likes of AA. Oh, well. Back to the packaged junk food then....

    2. PZ Guest

      I've flown Polaris a countless number of times and United sent me a similar email about the onboard product, except it went to depth on more aspects than just the catering. Seat, service elements, bedding, cutlery/crockery/drinkware, etc. Not that I dislike Polaris at all but I wonder what enhancements may be coming.

  5. DesertGhost Guest

    I'm guessing the whole thing is much ado about nothing.

  6. Eskimo Guest

    He's probably one of only a few who have worked in all 3 major alliance + a non-alliance and not because of a merger.

    Achievement unlocked!!!!!!

    By the way, since he was Ex-US Airways, maybe he get to continue his seniority at AA

  7. Kent Guest

    Well - on the plus side, he can't hit rock bottom. The only airline worse than AA I can think is Air Koryo, but the latter is still aspirational. He should join Iyer ;)

    1. Jay Guest

      Sorry to ruin a good rant with facts but... all of the majors invite top tier flyers to test new menus/seats etc. Probably put on hold during covid however. I

  8. glenn t Diamond

    In any other industry gadfly behaviour such as this would seriously compromise your CV for future employment prospects.

    1. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      Um… Glenn T, please meet finance and politics, finance and politics please meet Glenn t…

    2. foo blah Guest

      Not necessarily.
      It depends on his skill set and quality of work, both of which sound top tier.
      When you are in that position you can write your own ticket.

  9. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The bottom line regardless of whatever theory you believe is that Scott Laurence not only no longer has any control over JetBlue's network but also of any other airline's.
    Delta succeeded at pulling him away from JetBlue just as the latter airline is preparing its defense of the Northeast Alliance.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      As noted below:

      - nonsense narrative (check!)
      - Delta clearly made the right move (check!)

      Tim Dunn, so predictable.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      just admit that he doesn't work for JBLU anymore and he WAS the primary network guru at JBLU. And he left JBLU for Delta.
      Is it so hard for you to admit those basic facts?

    3. MaxPower Guest

      Tim Dunn -- "Passport Plum is glorious somehow even when they got played by Scott Laurence -- Blessed be Delta""

    4. Robert Guest

      I'd bet that, due to the JetBlue work with AA, he had been forced to sign some kind of NDA or non compete where AA was concerned and the only way out was to secure employment at another airline first. It seems that his endgame was to work for AA with Delta being an unwitting pawn in the process

  10. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

    Must be one hell of an executive!! Everybody wants him!

  11. Never In Doubt Guest

    In before Tim Dunn, who'll tell us that whatever this was (and he may have some nonsense narrative about it), it was genius on Delta's part.

  12. SQ51 Guest

    Are you ever going to share why you were at the AA IOC? You said you'd explain in a later post but nothing yet. Would love to hear what took you there!

  13. Mark Guest

    Perhaps some sort of noncompete clause preventing him from going from JetBlue to AA during a time when their new partnership is being investigated. Going from DL to AA might circumvent that

  14. John Beeler Guest

    Delta said "get that JetBlue trash out of here"

  15. Alec Guest

    Why churn credit cards when you can churn airline exec jobs!

    1. bc Guest

      Heard they have really good SUBs!

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.

PZ Guest

I've flown Polaris a countless number of times and United sent me a similar email about the onboard product, except it went to depth on more aspects than just the catering. Seat, service elements, bedding, cutlery/crockery/drinkware, etc. Not that I dislike Polaris at all but I wonder what enhancements may be coming.

1
LCFA Guest

Off topic…apologies. American Airlines sent me the most interesting email (I’m a very frequent flyer). They asked so many questions regarding their long-haul premium cabin catering…with the obvious effort to catch up with Qatar, and maybe world-leading. Endless questions about how to improve their catering. Shocking and great. As such a frequent flyer, I’ve noticed that AA tries to match their partners. In some cases, it’s actually a lower standard, but as of today, AA seems to be trying for a higher standard.

1
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

Um… Glenn T, please meet finance and politics, finance and politics please meet Glenn t…

1
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