The same day American Airlines announced the appointment of Robert Isom as the airline´s new president replacing Scott Kirby, United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) revealed its own move, saying that Scott Kirby was named president of United Airlines. The move is surprising, as senior executives of major U.S. airlines rarely go from one airline directly to another. It also shows the expansion of the leadership team at United, where until now the role of president was exercised by the airline´s CEO.
Kirby (photo) will assume responsibility for United's operations, marketing, sales, alliances, network planning and revenue management. Kirby's appointment is effective immediately and he will report to Oscar Munoz, United's CEO.
"Scott is a proven leader, whose deep airline experience and expertise will further accelerate our efforts to build the best airline in the industry," said Munoz. "Scott's appointment, along with other recent leadership announcements, is the culmination of the formation of my senior leadership team. This is just the latest step in our mission to be an agile and innovative industry leader."
Kirby is a well-known industry veteran, with a broad and accomplished three-decade airline career with senior leadership roles at America West and US Airways, where he was named president in 2006. Kirby started his career at the Pentagon and in the technology sector and earned bachelor degrees in computer science and operations research from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Science in operations research from George Washington University.
"I am honored to be joining United at this important and exciting time and to have the opportunity to help accelerate the momentum the airline has achieved over the past year," said Kirby. "I see real opportunity to build on the airline's vast global network and, along with my 86,000 United teammates, create the world's best airline for employees, customers, and shareholders."
In the middle of August, United announced the addition of two key members to the company's executive leadership team with the appointment of Andrew Levy as executive vice president and chief financial officer and Julia Haywood as executive vice president and chief commercial officer.
Gerry Laderman, who has been serving as acting chief financial officer, will continue in his previous role as senior vice president, finance, procurement and treasurer. Jim Compton, who currently serves as chief revenue officer and vice chairman of United, will retire at the end of the year, after supporting the transition.
Levy comes to United following more than thirteen years of leadership at Allegiant Travel Company, a highly successful ultra-low cost carrier. Levy brings a comprehensive airline background to United, having held the roles of president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
Haywood joins United from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where she served as partner and managing director. Most recently, Haywood was a partner on BCG's revenue and network transformation team at United.