Last Friday, JonNYC, the founder of the Traveling Better Forums, shared the details of an internal American Airlines memo that outlined several leadership changes that will take place after American and US Airways complete their merger.
The Good News
Suzanne Rubin, the current President of AAdvantage, will continue to lead the program after the merger. (Whew, this is great news!)
She’s done a great job of leading the AAdvantage program during the restructuring, and under her leadership the AAdvantage team has rolled out some nice enhancements like a new interactive award map, the ability to search several partners for award space using AA.com, and an innovative (and awesome) remaking of Elite Rewards .
Most importantly, she’s done a fantastic job of communicating with customers and fully explaining any changes to the AAdvantage program well in advance of them taking effect (the way they handled the elimination of the ‘soft landing’ policy for 2014 is a great example).
And communicating change will be a big deal as American and US Airways integrate their frequent flier programs.
I’m happy and relieved to see her staying.
The Bad News
Rob Friedman the Vice President of Marketing at American will be leaving after the merger.
He’s been listening to American’s customers for a long time and every part of the airline that he’s led reflects it.
He was once the leader for marketing efforts at AA.com, and much of the functionality that we take for granted today came about because of his leadership.
He was also President of AAdvantage, and during that time AAdvantage expanded the number of ways to earn and use miles, and they introduced one of the greatest program enhancements ever: one-way awards.
More recently, he’s been leading American’s effort to build a more customer focused version of the airline.
Updated cabins, fully lie-flat seats, better meals, upgraded amenities, improved in-fight entertainment, Entree Reservations, expanded Wi-Fi availability, much of the research and planning that went into these (and many other) improvements came about because of Mr. Friedman and his leadership.
All of his hard work has made him well known, much respected and well liked by many of American’s best customers. It’s a disappointment that he’s leaving.
The Rest of the News
Several more people were named to important post-merger leadership positions (including Friedman’s successor). See JonNYC’s post over at the Traveling Better Forums for all the details.
Photo: Good News and Bad News
Credit: Mike Licht on Flickr