JetBlue announced on Monday that current CEO Robin Hayes will resign in February, and the new CEO will be the airline’s chief operating officer, Joanna Geraghty. She will take on the role on February 12, which will make her the first woman to head a major US airline. Joanna joined the company in 2005 and has grown exponentially in her career in the last few years. The 51-year-old became the chief operating officer and president of JetBlue in 2018.
Joanna said she is grateful for the new position, and she looks forward to “seeing them execute their strategic initiatives, return to profitable growth, and generate sustainable value for shareholders.” Joanna Geraghty will join the small list of women CEOs in the airline industry all over the world. Though many major airlines, like Qantas, Air France, and Virgin Australia, have female CEOs, in the United States, men have always been the CEOs of this industry. Cape Air is a regional carrier in the US and the only other airline with a female CEO in the US. The shares of JetBlue also grew by 2% after the announcement of Geraghty as their new CEO.
57-year-old Robin Hayes will be retiring due to health reasons. He said in a statement, “The extraordinary challenges and pressure of this job have taken their toll, and on the advice of my doctor and after talking to my wife, it’s time I put more focus on my health and well-being.” He served the role of JetBlue CEO for nine years. Hayes joined the airline in 2018 and went on to become executive vice president, chief commercial officer, and president. He previously worked with British Airways for 19 years.
JetBlue is the United States’ sixth-biggest airline. Hayes has been doing mergers for many years. In 2016, JetBlue attempted to purchase Virgin America, but it was bought by Alaska Airlines.