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JetBlue CEO Keeps Alive Rumors of Retirement in 2015


Jun 20, 2014 12:00 pm

Skift Take

All signs point to JetBlue’s Barger leaving the airline in 2015 as it continues to evolve with its Mint business class service and A321s. Still, this is definitely not a done deal.

— Dennis Schaal

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National Transportation Safety Board  / Flickr.com

David Barger, JetBlue CEO, speaking to staff at a National Transportation Safety Board forum on September 11, 2013. National Transportation Safety Board / Flickr.com

Will JetBlue CEO David Barger retire when his contract expires in February 2015?

Barger did nothing to blunt the rumors in a CNBC interview this week when he said “our board will have further discussions on that” this summer or in the fall.

Barger, a member of the JetBlue founding team and CEO for the past seven years, said he’s “fully engaged” and the team “loves what is happening in the marketplace with our shares.”

JetBlue stock was trading at $10.59 today, near its 52-week high after trading at $5.95 a year ago.

Barger’s statements took place a few days before the company announced that its controller and chief accounting officer Donald Daniels will leave the company next month for another public company.

Daniels drew attention before the announcement on June 2 when he sold 22,807 shares of JetBlue stock.

Rumors began circulating about Barger’s potential retirement after Robin Hayes was promoted to president on January 1, 2014. Until then, Barger had been president and CEO.

JetBlue clearly isn’t displeased with Barger’s tenure. He earned $3.05 million in total compensation in 2013, and in February 2014 received a $1.62 million equity grant as he achieved 130% of his performance target, according to an SEC filing.

JetBlue launched its Mint business class service earlier this week as Barger has steered the airline toward a middle ground between low cost carriers and legacy airlines.

Here’s the CNBC interview with Barger:

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