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airel
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Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:26 pm

I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise to many of us, given the well known discussions we've had about DP over here. I personally hope they manage to steer away from the abyss they seem to he headed to in the last few years, and gain once more a truly competitive spot in the market.

Doug finally steps down as CEO, passes the stick on to Robert Isom who will be assuming in March.Parker will remain involved - of course - as Chairman.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/07/america ... ch-31.html

Couldn't find another post about it (yet) and definitely deserves it's own thread. Feel free to delete if someone else beat me to it!
Last edited by airel on Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:27 pm

Parker retires March 31 and Isom takes over. A positive development for AA.
 
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vhtje
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:33 pm

Isom is ex-US Air, right? Doesn't that mean he's the same leopard, just wearing a slightly different coat?
 
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Polot
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:43 pm

vhtje wrote:
Isom is ex-US Air, right? Doesn't that mean he's the same leopard, just wearing a slightly different coat?

Yes, he was also at HP and NW before US.

I don’t know enough about Isom to say if he will be the same. Scott Kirby was Doug Parker’s right hand man for years but he has generally been great at UA from a customer experience perspective.
 
AMALH747430
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:46 pm

vhtje wrote:
Isom is ex-US Air, right? Doesn't that mean he's the same leopard, just wearing a slightly different coat?


Possibly, but it’s not a sure thing. Scott Kirby is ex-HP/US and he’s doing great things over at UA. He’s made remarkable improvements to the passenger experience at UA. As a UA Plat. It’s been a welcome surprise. Who knows, maybe Isom can breathe some positive life into AA.
 
Boof02671
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 12:59 pm

vhtje wrote:
Isom is ex-US Air, right? Doesn't that mean he's the same leopard, just wearing a slightly different coat?

No he is old NW before US and was instrumental in helping break AMFA at NW.

He is NOT employee friendly at all, and was a big road block in negotiations before at AA.
 
2eng2efficient
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:08 pm

The WSJ story on Parker noted his career was “bookended by crises,” i.e. he took the helm at HP 10 days before 9/11 and leaves AA during COVID-19. It was filled with turbulence, but this man had a hell of a career. I assume he kept his job at the top for so long partly because of his charisma and ability to connect interpersonally with the Board. I’m reminded of F. Ross Johnson of RJR Nabisco fame.
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:33 pm

Despite his critics he was one of the most important men in aviation of his time. He correctly was out in front of numerous issues (from Post 9-11 bailout work with Congress, to Consolidation) and in some ways revolutionized the industry with the dropping of the Saturday night stay requirement for fair bookings. And in any view going from CEO of a small airline to CEO of the largest in the world in 15 years is an amazing accomplishment.
 
twoaislesforme
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:34 pm

vhtje wrote:
Isom is ex-US Air, right? Doesn't that mean he's the same leopard, just wearing a slightly different coat?


exactly. Isom is a clone of Parker. Nothing will get better. If anything, will continue to spiral down the rabbit hole
 
twoaislesforme
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:36 pm

2eng2efficient wrote:
The WSJ story on Parker noted his career was “bookended by crises,” i.e. he took the helm at HP 10 days before 9/11 and leaves AA during COVID-19. It was filled with turbulence, but this man had a hell of a career. I assume he kept his job at the top for so long partly because of his charisma and ability to connect interpersonally with the Board. I’m reminded of F. Ross Johnson of RJR Nabisco fame.


he held his job at the top position for as long as he did because he was incredibly close to members of the board. If you ask me, you need to wipe out nearly most of the board and C suite at AA. Then and only then will there be positive energy and change
Last edited by twoaislesforme on Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
phlswaflyer
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:36 pm

Adios you "me" first, cost-cutting pocket lining "passengers are not my concern" bean counter. Isom will be worse. Think Project Oasis. 'Nuff said.
 
bchandl
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:40 pm

2eng2efficient wrote:
The WSJ story on Parker noted his career was “bookended by crises,” i.e. he took the helm at HP 10 days before 9/11 and leaves AA during COVID-19. It was filled with turbulence, but this man had a hell of a career. I assume he kept his job at the top for so long partly because of his charisma and ability to connect interpersonally with the Board. I’m reminded of F. Ross Johnson of RJR Nabisco fame.


Wow. Imagine being not even to your first CEO paycheck deep into the job and BAM, 9/11.

Terrorism, sky high fuel prices, economy meltdown, pandemic. That's essentially his career in one sentence, with a few 'easy' years mixed in.

I know this thread beneath me is about to turn into a roast by a bunch of forum posters who think they could pay all employees $10k/hr all the while doubling AA's bottom line, satisfy every customer, and run planes on green pixie dust which emits clean, green unicorn farts by the end of the week who will bash everything about Parker, but there's something to be said for leading a successful organization through all that economic hell.
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 1:47 pm

I wonder if he ever actually got a CEO paycheck? He famously stopped taking a salary after 9-11 and never has had one since.
 
phatfarmlines
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:03 pm

UpNAWAy wrote:
Despite his critics he was one of the most important men in aviation of his time. He correctly was out in front of numerous issues (from Post 9-11 bailout work with Congress, to Consolidation) and in some ways revolutionized the industry with the dropping of the Saturday night stay requirement for fair bookings. And in any view going from CEO of a small airline to CEO of the largest in the world in 15 years is an amazing accomplishment.


Don't forget the industry conversion to BOB. HP was the first in the early 2000s to give this a go under DP's watch.
 
dfw88
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:05 pm

bchandl wrote:
I know this thread beneath me is about to turn into a roast by a bunch of forum posters who think they could pay all employees $10k/hr all the while doubling AA's bottom line, satisfy every customer, and run planes on green pixie dust which emits clean, green unicorn farts by the end of the week who will bash everything about Parker, but there's something to be said for leading a successful organization through all that economic hell.


Great comment. I'm certainly not onboard with everything AA has done under Parker's leadership but he's also done some pretty good work. Some good, some bad, just like the rest of us. The only differentce is he's done it in front of millions of people who love complaining. Regardless of the final verdict of his tenure (which will be issued by aviation history, not by the posters on a.net) he's had quite the ride.
 
codc10
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:07 pm

UpNAWAy wrote:
I wonder if he ever actually got a CEO paycheck? He famously stopped taking a salary after 9-11 and never has had one since.


Like most airline CEOs, he took an all-stock comp package during the economic boom.

Those gestures (forgoing regular salary) are mostly symbolic, as executives rarely gave up other non-cash forms of compensation, incentive pay and other performance-based bonuses. You also never hear about when they start taking a paycheck again, as Parker absolutely did.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:23 pm

UpNAWAy wrote:
I wonder if he ever actually got a CEO paycheck? He famously stopped taking a salary after 9-11 and never has had one since.


That is incorrect. He's been a CEO of publicly traded firms for twenty years. Compensation details are found in the SEC 'DEF 14A' filings annually.

https://americanairlines.gcs-web.com/se ... =10&page=1

Yes, he took a big fraction of total compensation in incentives and equity (as is common with U.S. CEOs). Year after year you'll see remarks of the form 'Parker earned less than the CEOs of Delta and United.' He didn't achieve the earnings results of DL or UA, either.
 
ckfred
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:41 pm

First, where along the career path did Doug Parker forget what he learned, when he started at AA, back in the 1980s, when Bob Crandall truly ran an innovative airline that took customer service seriously?

Second, when Parker was courting AA's unions, to gain their support for having US buy AA out of bankruptcy, Parker said that the US route network didn't lend itself to the better on-board product that AA had. It didn't have JFK-West Coast, MIA-LAX, ORD-West Coast, LGA-ORD, or a focus on a major European capital like London.

Well, Parker has not been at all good at keeping the AA product. I know people who feel AA today is better than US before the merger, but that's not saying much.

Third, one thing that Parker had done to some extent is competing at ORD. Parker had said that prior AA management, going back to Don Carty, had been afraid to compete at ORD and had swapped far too much mainline flying over to Eagle. A lot of routes that had been switched to CRJ 700s and the Embrear 135/140/145 are now seeing 737s and Airbus narrowbodies.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:52 pm

An airline CEO’s job is partly to make employees and avgeek type customers happy. But it is also to manage risk in the business. By normal standards, AA is not in great financial shape. By normal standards again, the flight crews appear to be paid like emperors. Airlines are deeply compromised by Union leverage. I am not sure how Doug could have paid the unions more money while keeping an airline afloat. Improving the product would have come from the unions’ compensation. The “revenue premium” you get from product is dubious and hardly demonstrated in the US. So I don’t think the argument that Doug should have vastly improved the product, and paid employees more, is anything more than pie in the sky. Airline have to employ cost controls at all times to survive.

With that said, I do agree it is time for Doug to go. A change in perspective allows new problem solving. So I wish Isom and AA people the best.
Last edited by LCDFlight on Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
airlinepeanuts
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:52 pm

I don’t see how AA doesn’t end up filing for bankruptcy soon. They were struggling with their debt load when times were good Pre-covid and now are losing close to $10 billion dollars. Isom will lead them through bankruptcy and then step down is my guess.
 
NickLAX
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:07 pm

Good, OW looking up. Cruz gone at BA and now Parker at AA - well overdue fresh blood
 
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Miami
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:20 pm

Thank god. Good riddance.
 
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southwest1675
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:21 pm

AA was a CEO away from being better than DL…
 
wjcandee
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:30 pm

Parket's biggest mistake was keeping the AA name. Should have had the naming conventions reflect what was really happening in that merger. Calling the whole thing USAirways might have cut down on all the entitled comments and behavior from the AA side. Crandall-era AA was done. Built on AArogance and a smidgen of AAntittrust, as well as soaking business travelers through wacky fare discrimination, its time was up. Once AA took a competitor out of the market by swallowing TWA, suckering its people into thinking it would be a merger of valued cultures, AA drove everything TWA out of the combined entity. Too bad Parker didn't do the same to the dinosaur that his company swallowed.

bchandl's comments above are priceless, and correct.
 
Prost
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:41 pm

Did AA ever lead the majors in financial performance under Parker’s leadership?
 
NLINK
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:45 pm

Prost wrote:
Did AA ever lead the majors in financial performance under Parker’s leadership?


American struggled keeping up financially with its peers under Parker. American also generally runs away from competition as they basically dismantled NYC pre COVID-19. Hopefully with the right CEO the financials improve and employee relations improve but the new CEO has horrible at NW for employee relations.
 
Brandon757
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:48 pm

All of you saying "about time" need to also understand the person replacing him is Parker 2.0
 
travaz
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:56 pm

As someone who flies AA quite a bit (PHX is Home) I have no complaint with AA. What I would like to see from some of the posters on here is not how bad Parker is but what exactly is it you would do to make AA better. Having been in management positions in several companies including a multi national, a CEO's job is to focus on the balance sheet. That means controlling cost. Airlines are capital intensive and low margin. Free champagne for all is long gone. I think Parker has been rooted in financial challenges in his whole career. It is what he knows. Again I ask what would you do to change AA? Also a CEO has their hands tied because of the strength of the Unions. As an example the Federal Government mandates an action by your employee's (VAX) and the Union files lawsuits to not comply. The CEO is caught in the middle. If he doesn't placate the Unions the Airline shuts down and makes a lot of customers mad. If they don't comply with the mandate AA faces fines and sanctions from the feds. Again I would love to hear how you would change AA within the constraints of Stake Holders, Wall Street, Fed Regulators, Passengers, and finite amount of assets to deploy. It truly is a tight rope dance.
 
superjeff
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:10 pm

NLINK wrote:
Prost wrote:
Did AA ever lead the majors in financial performance under Parker’s leadership?


American struggled keeping up financially with its peers under Parker. American also generally runs away from competition as they basically dismantled NYC pre COVID-19. Hopefully with the right CEO the financials improve and employee relations improve but the new CEO has horrible at NW for employee relations.



There is more to the airline industry than New York. AA has a major hub in PHL, right next door, as well as a major
DCA operation, inherited from US Airways. New York has a lot of competition, and a lot of slot controls. You may not like it, but you can argue what they did was a good thing.

I don't like a lot of what Parker has done at AA - Oasis being the biggest gripe I have, but United and Delta have both essentially done the same thing. Most of us fly in the back, and the Economy section is similar on all the big three, and probably a bit better than many of the European legacy carriers t(I flew Lufthansa last week Munich-London and they had the same high density, non reclining seats on their 320 Neo that Spirit and Frontier use).

The market is driving this, not just Parker. I have been flying paid Domestic First lately, just for the little git more comfort, even though I'm Patinum on AA (also Gold on UA). They may not be what they once were, but they aren't overly terrible either.

You have to realize, in the case of AA, that before their bankruptcy, their fleet was old and they had operational issues. They had no choice but to modernize, and the former AA management started that process with the orders for the current 737-800's, A-321's, etc. Delta still has a lot of (albeit referred) ancient 25 year old plus ex NW 320's, and I flew on a 23 year old United A319 last week as well, which was, in fact, showing its age.

I wish Doug the best in his "retirement"; hope for improvements in AA's inflight experience (bring back IFE) but I'll still fly them
 
silentbob
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:45 pm

2eng2efficient wrote:
I assume he kept his job at the top for so long partly because of his charisma and ability to connect interpersonally with the Board.

He kept his job by convincing investors that he had their interests as his top priority.
 
rising
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:55 pm

Have to give him credit, with all the turmoil over the past 20 years in the business, Parker is still CEO and never once was the CEO at a carrier in bankruptcy. Wish him well. Hopeful though that with new people there will be more a focus on customer amenities.

Those worried about AA's debt level-no need to worry. Corporate debt is not like personal debt. AA had one of the oldest, most unreliable fleets back in the early 2010s. They had to do it. Could you image navigating the pandemic with their MD80's and 767s? It would have been disastrous. I think if anything that would have put them under, more so than any debt.

Both Delta and United will now need to need to replace their fleets and you'll see their debt grow. You can only refresh a 30 year old jet so many times before you get diminishing returns. Remember, it's not so much the debt level, as it is the cost of the debt and the payment schedule. And with the cost of money as it is right now, you'd be a fool not to run up some debt with items that allow you to grow cash. When rates go up, you pay it off or roll it over into another instrument. Corporate finance is NOTHING like your personal finances.

And if something happened and they couldn't make a payment, the terms will be renegotiated, as they always are. Don't believe it? Look at Argentina. ;-) The real world works much different for those running it.

Congrats to Robert. Hopefully Vasu Raja will be the new President.
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:59 pm

DP definitely saved a lot of jobs at 3 airlines that is indisputable.
 
commpilot
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 4:59 pm

DP and GK will probably be throwing a huge joint party at the country club. Amazing how DP kept his job so long.
 
chrisair
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:18 pm

Dang, I can no longer say "I can't wait to have Doug Parker's finest meal" when flying F. Not that I get meals on my routes anymore, but that's beside the point.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:27 pm

NLINK wrote:
Prost wrote:
Did AA ever lead the majors in financial performance under Parker’s leadership?


American struggled keeping up financially with its peers under Parker. American also generally runs away from competition as they basically dismantled NYC pre COVID-19. Hopefully with the right CEO the financials improve and employee relations improve but the new CEO has horrible at NW for employee relations.


This is such a tiresome, misinformed argument that American's problems begin and end with NYC. It is also a myth that AA somehow once dominated NYC. It never did. AA in the 1980s and 1990s dominated the NY-Caribbean market. It also had, from 1991 onward and furthered through its partnership with BA, a strong slice of the JFK-LHR market. That's about it.

NYC is an important, even crucial market, but it is not paved with gold. DL invested billions in NYC from 1991 when it acquired Pan Am's TATL network from JFK, all the way through to the last few years and by its own admission, turned NYC profitable in 2013. UA inherited what is most likely the most profitable hub operation in the NY Area when it merged with CO and got EWR. UA controls a majority of EWR's market share, has limited competition there and is the only one of the US3 that does it all under a single roof. AA has struggled with NYC, that's true, and largely a function of cost dynamics, which pre-bankruptcy, were not competitive relative to DL and B6.

AA has indeed been outperformed financially by its peers, but the narrative around its debt is also misrepresented. AA had no choice but to order 300+ jets to renew what was, in 2011, an old, inefficient, unreliable fleet. That is the source of AA's debt. It will be the primary source of DL and UA's growing debt eventually.
 
alasizon
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:31 pm

We all knew this was coming, as the succession plan was well established. Per the letter Doug sent out it was planned to happen earlier but COVID delayed the plans. The question now is who assumes Isom's job of President. Personally I believe it will be Vasu Raja who seems to be the clear cut "good thing coming". My big hope is Isom can find a way to stop the constant churn of employees both at HDQ and Frontline management in Hubs. The lack of consistency is partially what is driving the struggles in customer experience as the people driving change/improvement are constantly changing and then you implement one thing and then the next person disagrees with that so they go a different route and so on.
 
capejet
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:49 pm

I think Doug Parker did a so-so job at AA. I would give him a grade of C+. I think the really big issue is the fact that he never got the AA operation up to UA/DL standards.

I think AA's worst CEO had to have been Don Carty. Why he spent all that money buying TWA and their run down St Louis hub is beyond me. Probably the biggest airline blunder of all time.
 
TWFlyGuy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:03 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
NLINK wrote:
Prost wrote:
Did AA ever lead the majors in financial performance under Parker’s leadership?


American struggled keeping up financially with its peers under Parker. American also generally runs away from competition as they basically dismantled NYC pre COVID-19. Hopefully with the right CEO the financials improve and employee relations improve but the new CEO has horrible at NW for employee relations.


This is such a tiresome, misinformed argument that American's problems begin and end with NYC. It is also a myth that AA somehow once dominated NYC. It never did. AA in the 1980s and 1990s dominated the NY-Caribbean market. It also had, from 1991 onward and furthered through its partnership with BA, a strong slice of the JFK-LHR market. That's about it.

NYC is an important, even crucial market, but it is not paved with gold. DL invested billions in NYC from 1991 when it acquired Pan Am's TATL network from JFK, all the way through to the last few years and by its own admission, turned NYC profitable in 2013. UA inherited what is most likely the most profitable hub operation in the NY Area when it merged with CO and got EWR. UA controls a majority of EWR's market share, has limited competition there and is the only one of the US3 that does it all under a single roof. AA has struggled with NYC, that's true, and largely a function of cost dynamics, which pre-bankruptcy, were not competitive relative to DL and B6.

AA has indeed been outperformed financially by its peers, but the narrative around its debt is also misrepresented. AA had no choice but to order 300+ jets to renew what was, in 2011, an old, inefficient, unreliable fleet. That is the source of AA's debt. It will be the primary source of DL and UA's growing debt eventually.


The debt talk is not entirely misplaced. Yes the fleet renewal was needed but the amount borrowed also help fund share repurchasing made them an outlier. Especially so soon after emerging from bankruptcy.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/03/ ... backs.aspx
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:12 pm

I like how his biggest criticism are being a cheap bean counter only concerned with the bottom line and running up massive debt. You can't really be both.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:11 pm

wjcandee wrote:
Parket's biggest mistake was keeping the AA name. Should have had the naming conventions reflect what was really happening in that merger. Calling the whole thing USAirways might have cut down on all the entitled comments and behavior from the AA side. Crandall-era AA was done. Built on AArogance and a smidgen of AAntittrust, as well as soaking business travelers through wacky fare discrimination, its time was up. Once AA took a competitor out of the market by swallowing TWA, suckering its people into thinking it would be a merger of valued cultures, AA drove everything TWA out of the combined entity. Too bad Parker didn't do the same to the dinosaur that his company swallowed.

bchandl's comments above are priceless, and correct.

I have to disagree…

American was/is, by far, the most Iconic brand name out there. Especially world wide.

As far as TWA goes, they were already on the last leg, out of options and out of cash. And remember, this was BEFORE 9/11.

The most valuable asset left on TWA’s portfolio was the MCI Maintenance Base. This was the beginning of the mechanic shortage, and AA thought it would provide a short-medium term solution to the problem, the mechs already familiar with the types AA was flying at that time. They had already made a couple of inquiries about buying the base before the buyout offer.

Buying TWA also kept competitors looking for another hub out of STL, namely America West, who was actively trying to expand eastward at the time (Columbus was just too small to work long-term). They wanted a Midwest transcon hub that could work within the ranges of their existing aircraft. Airways was also actively looking to expand westward.

Another often overlooked item is the 45 already existing E-145 delivery positions Chautauqua held for TWA. AA was aggressively buying every one of these, new or used worldwide, that they could find at the time, for several reasons (Slot squatting).

AA actually got a lot, for not a lot of money, including much needed pilots, though they turned out to be a real headache for AA later.

And remember, this was all BEFORE 9/11. After that, the calculations changed dramatically.
 
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pilotkev1
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:19 pm

I always viewed the President has having more influence over the day-to-day shortcomings than the actual CEO. The CEO, to me is usually just the 'face of the company', whose primary role was to manage the executive team.

For me, the biggest question mark will be who takes over Isom's vacated President role. That's the individual who will be in the hot-seat, making or breaking the airline over the next 10 years.
 
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fanoftristars
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:21 pm

travaz wrote:
As someone who flies AA quite a bit (PHX is Home) I have no complaint with AA. What I would like to see from some of the posters on here is not how bad Parker is but what exactly is it you would do to make AA better. Having been in management positions in several companies including a multi national, a CEO's job is to focus on the balance sheet. That means controlling cost. Airlines are capital intensive and low margin. Free champagne for all is long gone. I think Parker has been rooted in financial challenges in his whole career. It is what he knows. Again I ask what would you do to change AA? Also a CEO has their hands tied because of the strength of the Unions. As an example the Federal Government mandates an action by your employee's (VAX) and the Union files lawsuits to not comply. The CEO is caught in the middle. If he doesn't placate the Unions the Airline shuts down and makes a lot of customers mad. If they don't comply with the mandate AA faces fines and sanctions from the feds. Again I would love to hear how you would change AA within the constraints of Stake Holders, Wall Street, Fed Regulators, Passengers, and finite amount of assets to deploy. It truly is a tight rope dance.


Having flown AA, DL and WN extensively the past two years in paid coach and premium cabins on AA and DL, I feel qualified to speak here:

1. Improve the operational performance of the airline to Delta levels, including on-time performance, cancellations, baggage handling, denied boardings, etc. There may be some initial cost to improve this, but long term it pays off dramatically.
2. Create a brand people are willing to pay more for. AA's brand feels more like Wal Mart and less like Target, if you get the drift. From the plain gray interiors, to the aging and worn Admirals clubs, the drab spaces in the terminals at DFW, to densified aircraft (172 on a 737 vs DL's 160), no PTVs on domestic, and an insatiable desire to hawk that credit card multiple times per flight, AA just has a poor brand image compared to DL.
3. Rally the employees. Does the average AA employee feel pride in their airline? While I have no doubt experienced incredible frontline employees on AA, if you look at customer satisfaction scores, they definitely trail DL and WN on an ongoing basis. I've encountered far more AA employees who just don't seem to care.

I have identical status on AA and DL - Platinum Pro vs Platinum on Delta, so I feel I can make a comparison based on a lot of flying. I'm also A-List on WN. I get that WN is a different animal all together, but WN delivers what they promise, and they do it well. They seem to have more of a rudder of their direction that Parker ever had at AA. I wish him well, but I also know that AA can be so much better. There's no reason with their network and size that they can't rule the US market and dominate in profitability.
 
airlinepeanuts
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:32 pm

fanoftristars wrote:
travaz wrote:
3. Rally the employees. Does the average AA employee feel pride in their airline? While I have no doubt experienced incredible frontline employees on AA, if you look at customer satisfaction scores, they definitely trail DL and WN on an ongoing basis. I've encountered far more AA employees who just don't seem to care.


That's the hardest, and impossible at AA in my opinion. How do you rally over 120,000 employees?
 
Prost
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:43 pm

Hey, if Delta was able to get those of us from NWA on the team, a good executive at AA should be able to rouse the employees.
 
AvNerd
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:43 pm

Call this a few thoughts from someone who worked at NW, US, and AA at varying times in the post 9/11 era.

Isom may not be employee friendly, but he does know his operation and the hard and soft product. Remember he ran Asia for NW until the mid aughts when he came home to run ground ops. He does have his faults as do we all, but in the end I expect a better focus on the operation and product and less on propping up failing stock prices and bonuses. That being said, yes he was right in the mix with Andy at NW when it came time to force an AMFA strike so the unions will have their work cut out for them, but for AA and it's largest union this can be a good thing as the LAA side was a cluster fuck of both militant cronyism and militant warfare in labor relations.

Doug may not be Jack Welch or certainly not Gordon Bethune, hell he is not even a Gerard Arpy, but he was competent and had an enviable run for 2 decades. He took the reins of a failing glorified regional carrier that was barely a "major" coming out of FAA fines and threats of grounding following some "maintenance issues" and a week and change later BAM 9/11. The world has changed, traffic will drop by 90%, and no one expects US or HP to be here 2 years from now. He reshaped HP, tried some things that failed, some things that worked, and some things we all hated, but worked anyway and within 5 years was leading the first post 9/11 major and setting off the consolidation wave that stabilized a failing and mostly bankrupt industry. Despite never really getting that one done or even right, despite trying to bite off more than he can chew with DL, and despite his never seeming to understand the product that the premium business traveler expects he made it work. In less than a decade his failed merger would acquire AA and created the largest airline in the world. Again his refusal to understand the premium product, his unwillingness to understand the level of animosity among the TWU workforce, and getting a bit too full of himself and focusing more on share price and bonuses than paying down debt and reinvesting he still managed to see AA through Covid, labor turmoil, and rising fuel prcies. He even managed to actually integrate his workforces this time.

My analysis, Doug's days were done, and while maybe not good riddance and maybe not good job enjoy your future, maybe it is you did the best you could and we wish you well. Bob, while not what the employees wanted and likely not what the short term investor wants, WILL turn out to be someone who fixes and improves the product and is willing to put reinvestment and long term viability ahead of next Thursday's share price. Hell, I may even consider a return to AA next summer.
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 8:46 pm

Isom just seems so underwhelming to me, especially as the face of a global company. AA should have kept Kirby around and not let him end up at United.

As far as Parker, I don't share many of the negative views. I remember him well from America West days saving that company, merging with US and saving it and finally larger combination with AA. Sure he is older now and seems worn out, but he did not manage to hold key leadership positions for 35 years and put a stamp on the industry by happenstance.
 
rising
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 8:58 pm

LAXintl wrote:
Isom just seems so underwhelming to me, especially as the face of a global company. AA should have kept Kirby around and not let him end up at United.

As far as Parker, I don't share many of the negative views. I remember him well from America West days saving that company, merging with US and saving it and finally larger combination with AA. Sure he is older now and seems worn out, but he did not manage to hold key leadership positions for 35 years and put a stamp on the industry by happenstance.


This is spot on. Just the gravitas of the leading the world's largest airline seems missing from Isom. Hopefully be proven wrong.

I was hoping that there would be a surprise and we would see Tammy Romo for the role. I would have paid to see the forum's reaction had that happened!
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:17 pm

I still remember Parker's drunk-driving episode in Phoenix. Crazy. But he definitely was good at merging US into HP, which was sorely needed. That said, he cares nothing about customer service and comfort. Flying AA these days reminds me of the stories I used to hear about SU before the fall of the wall. I really wish AA could be the carrier it was in the 90s, but I think things have changed for the worse, and there's no end in sight with Isom at the helm.
 
johnconquest
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:33 pm

Good riddance.

Maybe an AA employee can chime in but isn't he leaving AA's financial situation in shambles?
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Doug Parker set to retire - Isom will be AA's new CEO

Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:12 pm

SWA Gary Kelly today shared a video tribute to Parker who recently received the Wings Club distinguished achievement award.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1468336974146805762

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