Skift Take

Tom Horton may be losing reigns of the world's largest airline, but he's walking away with the knowledge that he helped seal an industry-shaking deal and that a plump severance package awaits.

American Airlines chairman, president, and CEO Tom Horton sent a thank you note to employees on Thursday afternoon as he prepares to leave his position as chief executive and president next week.

Horton writes in the letter, “As you know, while I’ll remain on as chairman of the board, the CEO reins will pass to Doug Parker, a first rate leader and longtime friend.”

According to The Dallas Morning News, all American executives without a new role at the merged airline will have their last day today. US Airways and American officials are expected to close the merger of the two airlines on Monday morning.

US Airways chairman and CEO Doug Parker will become the CEO of the new American Airlines Group. US Airways president Scott Kirby will become president of the new airline and Horton will remain a non-executive chairman for a period of time.

The full letter from Horton to employees as well as a video released by American Airlines are below:



A Message from Tom

Dear American Team:

Two years ago this month, we were at a critical moment in our company’s history. We faced huge challenges. The skeptics doubted our ability to see our way through.

How did the people of American respond? You delivered! You proved wrong all those who questioned our future. On Monday, we will complete our merger with US Airways, one of the most important milestones in the 87-year history of this airline. In so doing, we will have completed one of the most successful restructurings in airline history, or in any industry. This two-year journey – which began under extreme conditions – ends with a win for all stakeholders: our people, customers and owners.

We’ve worked together to build great momentum on the way to our merger. We’re taking delivery of hundreds of modern, efficient new planes. We’re launching new routes and new partnerships in important growth markets around the world. We’re building a modern travel experience, with new technology and new products and services. We introduced a fresh new look. And most importantly, we’re welcoming recalled and new colleagues to American, with more flight attendants, pilots, and agents joining our team every day.

At the same time we’ve achieved record-setting results with new high marks for revenue and profit in the past several months. And we’ve served our investors well. Our bonds, once valued at cents on the dollar, have risen to full value, reflecting full recovery for our creditors. Our stock price has risen nearly fortyfold since we began our restructuring. These results are a validation of your hard work to build a strong and competitive American, and have allowed us to put money aside for a 2013 profit sharing payout – the first in a decade.

This all happened because of you – because you care deeply about this airline and our customers. Your professionalism, dedication and commitment are an inspiration.

Monday marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. American is in great shape to join forces with US Airways and compete globally for our customers’ business. Everything we’ve achieved will give the new American great momentum from day one.

Momentum is important, since combining two airlines won’t be easy. But the same dedication you’ve shown will help ensure the success of the new American in the years ahead. Ours is an amazing success story – and the future promises to be even brighter.

As you know, while I’ll remain on as chairman of the board, the CEO reins will pass to Doug Parker, a first rate leader and longtime friend. I’ll be cheering you to even greater heights under Doug’s leadership. Finally, no words here could do justice to the gratitude and respect I have for all of you. It has been a great privilege to be part of an extraordinary team at an extraordinary time.

Thanks for all you do!



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Tags: aa-us air merger, american airlines, doug parker, tom horton

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