New US Airways to Get America West Helm

The combination of US Airways and America West -- officially described as a merger -- is looking more and more like a takeover.


The combination of US Airways and America West -- officially described as a merger -- is looking more and more like a takeover.

The new company will be headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., home to America West.

The new CEO will be Doug Parker, CEO of America West.

And, the airlines said Monday, all but one of the merged company's top officers will be from -- you guessed it -- America West.

Including Parker, seven of eight top positions -- executive vice presidents of marketing and administration, the chief financial officer, general counsel, senior vice president of public affairs and vice president of corporate communications -- will be filled by America West executives. Only Al Crellin, 58, US Airways' executive vice president of operations, will continue with the combined company in the same role.

Airline analyst Mike Boyd said investors in the merged airline had hoped America West's management would reign. It makes sense, he says, because America West has been more financially successful than US Airways, which is in its second bankruptcy case since 2002.

The new company will need strong executive talent in "trying to breathe life into a cadaver," Boyd said.

The management team will make crucial decisions about the future of air service in Charlotte, which will be the airline's largest hub. About 5,300 of US Airways' 24,000 workers are based in Charlotte. The new airline will retain the US Airways name, and the two sides have started working on integrating operations.

The deal to combine the companies is expected to close by early October, following approvals from America West shareholders and US Airways' bankruptcy judge. A federal loan board signed off on the combination Friday, and antitrust regulators gave approval in June.

In a statement, US Airways confirmed some of its top leaders will not join the new airline.

"The executive team at US Airways has worked on this merger with one goal in mind, to preserve the franchise, save jobs and provide stability for the combined airline," the statement said. "... With the merger agreement near complete, for personal reasons, some of them will not be joining the new company."

A US Airways source, who asked not to be identified because the information was not publicly announced, said executives who expect to leave include Executive Vice President of Human Resources Jerry Glass, 51, who helped oversee recent labor negotiations; General Counsel Liz Lanier, who hired the company's bankruptcy lawyers; and Senior Vice President Chris Chiames, 46, who oversees the airline's communication strategy.

It is unclear whether US Airways Chief Financial Officer Ron Stanley, 58, will retire, even though the companies have named his America West counterpart as CFO in the new company, the source said.

US Airways CEO Bruce Lakefield will be vice chairman of the merged company's board but is not expected to have a day-to-day role. Another top US Airways leader, Executive Vice President of Marketing Bruce Ashby, said this month he's leaving to head a low-cost startup airline in India.

US Airways had asked a bankruptcy judge to approve severance agreements for executives, but the judge postponed a decision after labor groups objected.

America West spokesman Philip Gee said he knows of no top America West executives who will leave the company. Asked if the link-up is actually an America West takeover, Gee said: "It's not completely that way" because other executives are likely to come from US Airways' ranks.

Jose Gomez, the leader of the Charlotte chapter of US Airways' ticket agent union, said he welcomes the personnel moves because current US Airways leaders "have not demonstrated any kind of creativity in getting us out of the position we're in."

Post-merger leaders of US Airways:

Chief executive: Doug Parker, America West

Executive vice president, operations: Al Crellin, US Airways

Executive vice president, sales and marketing: Scott Kirby, America West

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