JetBlue Airways (New York) today announced that Robin Hayes, the company’s current President, will succeed Dave Barger as Chief Executive Officer, effective February 16, 2015. Barger will serve on the JetBlue Board of Directors until February 15, 2015, and Hayes is expected to join the Board on February 16, 2015.
Barger said, “Helping to found and lead JetBlue has been the experience of a lifetime. We set out to create a better airline, and through our commitment to that simple goal, the people of JetBlue succeeded in establishing a new standard for value and customer service in our industry. I have been looking for the right time to take the next step in my life for a while, and my decision was ultimately determined by the strong state of the company and my absolute confidence in Robin’s leadership. I want to thank Robin and all of our crewmembers. With their incredible passion and dedication, I know that JetBlue’s best days are ahead.”
Prior to joining JetBlue, Hayes was British Airways’ Executive Vice President for The Americas. Over the span of a 19-year career with British Airways, he also served as Area General Manager for Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Hayes is a graduate in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. He received a BSc and a master’s in engineering from the university.
Chairman of the Board Joe Peterson wrote this on the JetBlue blog:
One of the best things about being Chairman of JetBlue is having the privilege to share exciting new developments with the JetBlue community. Today, we are announcing the details of our CEO succession plan. Robin Hayes, our current President, will succeed Dave Barger as CEO of JetBlue, effective February 16, 2015.
After more than 16 years with the company, Dave has decided to take the next step in his life. As a founder of the company and its CEO for the past seven years, Dave has been a driving force in building JetBlue into an industry leader and one of the world’s great brands. We will all miss working with Dave.
At the same time, we are delighted to name Robin as Dave’s successor. During the six years Robin has worked with Dave, the Board, and our leadership team, he has proven himself to be a highly effective, collaborative leader. At a company like JetBlue, these are crucial attributes. It is a testament to the strength of this organization that, as young as we are, we have such a deep bench of exceptional talent. In addition to knowing the industry inside and out, Robin and the rest of our leadership team are steeped in our unique culture and know it is what makes JetBlue great.
Competition in the airline industry continues to intensify, but we are confident JetBlue will continue to grow profitably while preserving what makes it special in the eyes of customers and crewmembers. Under Robin’s leadership, the company will maintain its operational focus on safety and efficiency while continuing to expand its network in underserved markets and launch new product initiatives – like Mint and Fly-Fi – to create value for shareholders by enhancing the JetBlue Experience for customers. Dave, Robin and the Board all agree that continued evolution – which has been the key to our success – remains the path to long-term success for our company. In fact, Robin set many of these strategies in motion while Chief Commercial Officer at JetBlue, from developing a robust network growth plan which provided geographic diversity to continuing our disruptive nature with JetBlue’s answer to the transcontinental gap – Mint.
This transition in leadership marks another important milestone in JetBlue’s exciting journey. The Board and I thank Dave for everything he has done to make JetBlue what it is today, and we congratulate Robin on this appointment. We look forward to working together to continue building one of the world’s great airlines.
Will the change at JetBlue mean more fees and a higher profit? Bloomberg Businessweek explores this question: CLICK HERE
Is JetBlue being too nice to its customers? The Motley Fool looks at the issue of more fees for the carrier: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo Below: JetBlue Airways. Left to right: Outgoing CEO Dave Barger, incoming CEO Robin Hayes and Joel Peterson, Chairman of the JetBlue Board of Directors.