FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) –In announcing his departure as CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker suggested that anyone who jumps on a flight likely won’t notice a difference when the transfer takes place next spring.
Labor groups, industry analysts and trade experts agreed on Tuesday December 7 that he was probably right, at least for now.
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Parker made the announcement alongside his replacement, current President Robert Isom.
He will take over an airline facing emerging from a pandemic crisis, in the same way Parker was challenged in 2013 to pull the newly merged company out of bankruptcy.
While the direction a new CEO will take is difficult to predict, the passing of the torch to an already familiar executive was a signal towards stability, according to Ryan Krause, professor of strategy at TCU’s Neely School of Business.
“Airlines are kind of a microcosm of all the challenges our society is facing right now, and so I can understand why they would be very focused on signaling a very calm and orderly succession going forward,” he said. he declared.
Parker was keen to point out on Tuesday that preparations for the change have been underway for years and may even have taken place earlier, with the exception of the pandemic.
However, the decision to take the step now doesn’t necessarily mean the company has weathered the challenges of the past 20 months.
Krause said it was an interesting conflict that Isom would face, both operating the airline successfully now, while setting a long-term direction for the company.
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At least it should get off on the right foot internally, according to Greg Cosey, president of Transportation Workers Union Local 513, which represents nearly 4,000 airline employees.
“They’ve apparently taken a step forward in realizing that we want to be partners,” Cosey said. “We don’t want to continue to have an adversarial relationship because it doesn’t help anyone. “
Cosey said he has made progress this year in building relationships with executives working under Isom, especially with regard to staffing plans at DFW Airport.
He looked back on Parker’s time with the airline like a mixed bag, and said employees were a little leery of the change, but cautiously optimistic. He was no longer sure of the direction the airline would take next.
Aviation and travel industry writer Matthew Klint agreed that a criticism of Parker and an unanswered question with the leadership change is what the company will become.
“Are they going to be the most of Spirit Airlines?” ” He asked. “Yes, we have the first class. Yes, we have Wi-Fi, but are we really competing on price? Or do they really want to try to be a premium carrier? And maybe this is where Parker failed.
Klint, who writes online for Live and Let Fly, said Parker deserves credit for rising through the ranks, guiding the airline to its current position, handling labor relations and pursuing a loyalty program he considers higher than those of other traditional carriers.
If Isom keeps some of these achievements intact, that in itself could be a future competitive strategy according to Krause.
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“Right now, as an airline, predictability and stability are really important things that you want to point out to your stakeholders. “