Via Scott Mayerowitz at the Associated Press, Delta’s CEO, Richard Anderson, will be retiring on May 2, 2016, which is the day he turns 61. The airline’s president, Ed Bastian, will be taking over as CEO. Meanwhile Glen Hauenstein, the airline’s executive vice president, will be appointed president.
There’s no denying that Richard Anderson has done an amazing job leading Delta since 2007, when the airline had just exited bankruptcy protection. He was in charge when Delta merged with Northwest, when Delta bought a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, etc. Delta has transformed into one of the most admired and profitable airlines in the world, and Richard Anderson has been in charge all along.
He hasn’t just been a conventional leader either. Under his leadership, Delta has countered so many industry trends which other airlines have followed. And for that he deserves a lot of respect.
At the same, I’ve never seen someone running such a successful company also have such a victim mentality. Whether it’s whining about the Gulf carriers or slots at Haneda Airport, Anderson has been singularly focused on the success of his airline (which in and of itself is fine), and he has considered anything standing in the way of that goal to be unfair. It just seems a bit disingenuous to play the victim mentality when you’re running the world’s most profitable airline… that’s all.
It’s the results that count, and there’s no denying that Richard Anderson has been an amazing CEO. Delta is a leading global carrier and a role model other airlines look to, and he’s certainly leaving on a high note. Ed Bastian is brilliant as well, and I’m sure he’ll do great things for Delta. Based on having heard Ed Bastian speak a couple of times, he also seems a bit more soft spoken and reasonable, which I think will be good for the airline.
Kudos to Richard Anderson on an amazing career — he’s certainly leaving on better terms than than Jeff Smisek left United.
Now I’m just wondering if Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, will be invited to Richard Anderson’s retirement party. 😉
What do you make of Richard Anderson’s retirement — are you happy or sad to see him go?