In fact, JetBlue shares have traded higher in recent months based on the premise that Barger will soon depart, enabling the carrier to adopt more profit-oriented, consumer-unfriendly measures such as offering less legroom and charging for a first bag.
Shortly after the opening bell on Wednesday, JetBlue shares traded up 17 cents at $12.50. Shares are up 44% year-to-date.
Barger is seen as a symbol of an airline that has tried to be different, offering premium service at coach prices, and that consequently has come up short in the profit department. He has been with JetBlue since 1998, two years before the first flight, and became CEO in 2007.
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On JetBlue's second-quarter earnings call last month, amid growing speculation about his future, Barger declared: "It's no secret that I have a contract through the February 2015 time frame." On Wednesday morning, a JetBlue spokesman said the carrier had no additional comment.
The widespread assumption is that JetBlue President Robin Hayes will replace Barger in February, but Wall Street's preference appears to be for Barger to depart more quickly.
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