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Doug Parker Might Be Out, but Scott Kirby Won’t Replace Him

A management shakeup at American Airlines via the ouster of CEO Doug Parker is appearing more likely by the minute, but United Airlines President Scott Kirby made recent comments designed to pour cold water on any notion he might be preparing to return to his former employer. 

Months before Scott Kirby left his position as President of American Airlines, he was viewed as the heir-apparent to current CEO Doug Parker. When Kirby was asked to step down, in an unexpected turn of events, newly installed United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz quickly offered Kirby the same position at the competing carrier. Now that Doug Parker’s own job appears to be in jeopardy, rumors have started to swell indicating that Kirby is on the shortlist to replace his former boss at American Airlines.

This week, however, during a question and answer session hosted by Plane Business Banter publisher Holly Hegeman, Kirby went out of his way to dispel any rumors he might be in line for the job at American Airlines. The interview during this year’s annual Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) conference held in Virginia left little room for speculation about Kirby’s plans for the future.

“I made a commitment to Oscar,” Kirby said in comments reported by Skift.  “Oscar was big enough to take a chance on me to bring me to United, and Oscar and United Airlines is the place where I’m going to end my career.”

Although Kirby seems to have closed the door on the idea of his making a triumphant return to the helm at American Airlines, it is perhaps notable in his denial that there was no mention made of the fact that the position being discussed is currently occupied. While addressing speculation that he might be a candidate for Doug Parker’s job, neither Kirby nor Hegeman reportedly gave much of any indication that Parker’s imminent departure is anything other than a foregone conclusion.

If the rumors of the demise of Doug Parker’s career are accurate and if Scott Kirby has truly removed his hat from the ring, then there is still some hope that another well-thought-of former American Airlines executive could be coaxed to return to the carrier. A tongue-in-cheek social media campaign to bring back retired AA CEO Bob Crandall, known as “BringBackBob.org” may have just received a huge bump from Kirby’s recent declaration. The 83-year-old former CEO, who has been retired for more than two decades, however, still remains something of a dark horse candidate to replace the current CEO (who hasn’t yet left the building).


[Image Source: United Airlines]

Comments are Closed.
wcc50 October 9, 2019

OMG I hope so. Doug Parker has ruined American. Neither American high flyers nor US Air high flyers like what has happened. Service and status recognition is down, prices up, perks and services do. I used to be a 1K with United and switched to American about 2005. What a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, Doug Parker has 1) irritated american personnel, 2) irritated high status flyers ( I pity those Platinum who never get an upgrade) 3) raised prices This merger should have never happened.

Prof_Dr_G October 9, 2019

Give him a middle seat (not adjacent to his children) as a golden parachute. But, be sure to charge him for it!

POatParker October 9, 2019

Party in the streets!!!!! Yay, Yay, Yay! Dump Parker now. Worst non customer centric CEO ever, in the airline industry!!! Throw my hat in the ring! I would do a hell of a lot better job than Parker!! Such a looser! Or better yet, bring back Arpe!

AJNEDC October 9, 2019

I just flew American in business class from JFK to Madrid. Hands down, this is the worse business class that I have ever flown. Whoever takes the helm need to do something about their product offering.

ayton October 9, 2019

Ready since day 1 to see Doug Parker leave. Maybe Gerard Arpey?