Fort Worth-based American Airlines announced that Derek Kerr, American’s vice chair, president of American Eagle, and strategic adviser, will retire from the airline on Sept. 30.
“Derek Kerr is one of the finest and most accomplished executives in the history of the airline business,” American’s CEO Robert Isom said in a statement. “I’m proud to call him a friend, and American is very well-positioned for the future because of his leadership. We wish him well as he begins his retirement.”
The airline said that Kerr stepped down as CFO at the end of 2022 after 20 years in the role as part of a long-planned succession process. Devon May was named to succeed Kerr as CFO and assumed the role Jan. 1.
Heather Garboden was named senior vice president of regionals and cargo in March and will continue to lead American’s regional and cargo work going forward.
In his most recent role, Kerr has led American’s regional and cargo teams and served as a strategic adviser to the company. As president of American Eagle, he has been responsible for nearly half of American’s daily departures with oversight of the airline’s regional operations.
“I’m incredibly proud of everything we accomplished during my time at American, US Airways and America West,” Kerr said in a statement. “It has been a tremendous honor to work alongside so many wonderful people the past three decades, and I consider myself incredibly lucky for the countless memories and friends I have made along the way.”
Previously, Kerr was CFO of America West Airlines, US Airways, and American from 2002 to 2022.
He was instrumental in the mergers of America West and US Airways in 2005 and of US Airways and American Airlines in 2013. The airline said that Kerr and his team raised $25 billion to keep American on solid footing during the global pandemic.
He returned American to its first full-year profit since the pandemic with record revenue performance.
Kerr joined America West in 1996 and served in a variety of finance and planning roles before he was named CFO in 2002. He was named senior vice president and CFO of US Airways in 2005 and was promoted to executive vice president and CFO in 2009.
He began his career at aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman, and from 1991-1995, he held various finance positions at Northwest Airlines.
Kerr serves on the board of directors of Dallas-based Comerica Inc., the board of directors of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, the advisory board of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, the board of directors of the Cotton Bowl, and he is a member of the Dallas Stars Ownership Advisory Group.
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