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No Surprises as US Airways, American Name New Leaders

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- The top leadership team that will take over following the merger between US Airways (LCC) and American (AAMRQ.PK) contains no surprises.

Of the eight leaders, five are from US Airways and three are from American. All of the appointments were generally expected. As previously announced, US Airways CEO Doug Parker, 51, will remain CEO of the combined airline, while American CEO Tom Horton, 52, will be chairman for one year following the merger's approval. Also, seven American executives are slated to depart.

From US Airways, President Scott Kirby, 45, will remain president and Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr, 48, will remain in his post. Steve Johnson, 56, US Airways executive vice president, corporate and government affairs, will be executive vice president, corporate affairs and will remain the airline's top attorney. Elise Eberwein, 48, US Airways executive vice president for people, communication and public affairs, will be executive vice president, people and communications. Robert Isom, 49, US Airways chief operating officer, will retain that position and will have responsibilities for all aspects of airline operations.

From the American side, Beverly Goulet, 58, will be chief integration officer, leading the complex integration process. Maya Leibman, 47, will be chief information officer responsible for information technology, while Will Ris, 65, will be senior vice president government affairs, the post he held at American.

"I could not be happier about this team," Parker wrote in an employee newsletter issued Monday. "They are an intelligent, results-oriented and energetic group who enjoy working collaboratively. They are experienced airline executives who understand and love our business. They care about our customers and are dedicated to providing industry leading customer service with an unwavering commitment to safety."

In the letter, Parker also praised American executives who are not slated to continue with the combined airline. "Mergers unfortunately result in departures, and there are some on both teams, but I want to use this opportunity to specifically thank some of the outstanding senior executives at American.

"The American restructuring is far and away the most successful in aviation history and it would not be possible without the exceptional and dedicated work of people like Dan Garton, Bella Goren, Gary Kennedy, Denise Lynn, Jim Ream, Jon Snook and Virasb Vahidi. We are grateful for their phenomenal work and dedication and are committed to building on the foundation they have put in place."

Following the 2005 merger of US Airways with America West, Parker said he might have included more executives from US Airways in the top management team. All of the six US Airways executives who will lead the combined American/US Airways previously worked at America West.

The selections were quickly endorsed by the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American pilots and has taken a lead role in promoting the merger.

"As preparations for merging with US Airways continue, we have the opportunity to transform every facet of American Airlines, including our corporate culture and customer service -- two critical elements of operating an airline that we believe are inextricably linked," said APA President Keith Wilson in a prepared statement. "We intend to do all we can to help ensure that American Airlines once again becomes a great place to work for our pilots and fellow employees, and a great airline to fly for our passengers."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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