First Steps

Yesterday, I made note that Doug Parker has put the right foot forward at the start of his leadership of American Airlines.  Let’s take a look at those moves.

Parker has promised salary transparency and that will mean a great deal to employees at American Airlines.  US Airways employees are already used to Parker being very candid about his salary but American Airlines employees got a lot of “surprises” over the past 13 years or so.  Surprises that never looked good and always sent the wrong message.  I think that AA employees are going to find Parker & Team very refreshing when it comes to transparency.

Reserved parking at headquarters for top executives has been eliminated.  This will seem like a small thing but it is a wildly different attitude from that which existed at AA post-Robert Crandall (Crandall was fairly egalitarian in his regime but things changed after that starting with Don Carty).

Security guard for the executive offices have been dismissed.  Can you even imagine needing a platoon of security for executive offices?  Yet, that was reality and represents the “fortress” mentality of Gerard Arpey’s reign.  (Mind you, you can’t go strolling into the executive offices to do whatever but that’s basic corporate security at any large corporation and appropriate.)

Before I go on, I want to point out that those three items alone could have been instituted by Tom Horton and his team the day they took control of American Airlines into bankruptcy.  The fact that things like that did not happen is why I never felt Tom Horton was the right man for the job.  Leadership really does start at the front, not the back.

Parker will surprise people with more things similar to this.  For instance, I expect he will make 1 to 2 trips a month out into the field to hold informal discussions with employees.

And expect Parker to ensure his executive leadership follows his example.  You won’t see executives hiding executive offices, never venturing out into the field.

This is why I think Doug Parker can turn American Airlines into a world class leading airline.


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