Air Lines CEO to retire; president named as successor
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[February 04, 2016]
By Sweta Singh and Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc on
Wednesday said President Ed Bastian would replace Richard Anderson as
chief executive in May, a long expected move that will see one of the
most successful and outspoken leaders in the airline industry retire.
The Atlanta-based carrier said in a news release that Anderson will
retire as CEO effective May 2 and become Delta's executive chairman.
It said Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president of network
planning and revenue management, will take over as president, among
"Ed definitely has what it takes to keep Delta at the top of the
industry," Sterne Agee CRT analyst Adam Hackel said.
Hackel said he was "not worried at all about the transition."
Anderson assumed Delta's top job in 2007, leading the company
through a merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008 and turning Delta
into the No. 1 airline globally by market value.
During Anderson's tenure, Delta outpaced its peers in on-time
performance, grew rapidly in top business markets such as New York
and acquired stakes in airlines in the United Kingdom, China, Mexico
"Sometimes being a contrarian is a good thing," Bastian said in a
post on Delta's news website in November, indicating his interest in
pursuing the unconventional strategies that Anderson seemed to
Delta split from Airlines for America last year, in part because it
disagreed with the trade group's bid to semi-privatize governance of
the U.S. air traffic control system. Republicans in the U.S. House
of Representatives introduced a bill aimed at privatization on
Delta also surprised peers by purchasing a refinery in 2012, an
audacious first for the airline industry, to manage its jet fuel
costs. After months of losses, the refinery has since turned to
profit and posted gains of more than $300 million in 2015.
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At times, Anderson's comments have been seen as lightning rods in
Shares of Boeing Co <BA.N> fell after a contentious warning by
Anderson in October about a surplus of used planes for sale, raising
concern that the planemaker might have to cut the production rate of
its widebody 777 jets. Boeing announced a rate cut for the 777 last
Anderson also took a stance opposite Boeing in the debate over
whether Congress should reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank,
saying it amounted to a subsidy of foreign airlines.
Delta's shares fell less than 1 percent in after-market trade.
(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru and Jeffrey Dastin in New
York; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Cynthia Osterman)
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