Delta Air Lines has announced to employees the senior team responsible for leading the company after the closing of its merger with Northwest Airlines, marking another important milestone toward the successful integration of the two airlines. Delta will combine the strengths of two best-in-class airlines to create an industry-leading management team and ensure the seamless transition of Northwest’s operations into Delta over the next 12-24 months.
The team of officers will be led by Delta CEO Richard Anderson, an 18-year industry veteran, and will be comprised of highly experienced operational, corporate and strategic leaders selected from both companies to represent the respective strengths of Delta and Northwest. In addition, Delta announced the senior officers who will be members of its Corporate Leadership Team (CLT). The CLT will have overall responsibility for the strategy of the airline, including major decision-making and overall supervision of the merger process. The CLT, which will be effective upon the closing of the merger, includes:
Richard Anderson, CEO - Delta Air Lines
Ed Bastian, President and CFO - Delta Air Lines; CEO and President - NWA
Mike Becker, EVP, Chief Operating Officer - NWA
Mike Campbell, EVP - HR, Labor & Communications
Steve Gorman, EVP - Operations
Glen Hauenstein, EVP - Revenue & Network
Ben Hirst, SVP - General Counsel
Laura Liu, SVP - International
Theresa Wise, SVP - Chief Information Officer
By naming its entire officer team in advance of the closing of the merger, Delta has laid a strong foundation for the combined airline to immediately begin capturing and exceeding the merger synergies expected following the close of the transaction.
“We have assembled an incredibly talented officer team,” said Anderson. “Their diverse backgrounds and extensive experience, both in and out of the airline industry, provide a solid foundation for building a world-class airline focused on taking care of our people, serving our customers, and giving a good return to our shareholders.”
Upon closing, NWA, Inc. will be an operating subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Ed Bastian, who is Delta’s current president and CFO, will also become CEO and president of Northwest. Mike Becker, who is currently senior vice president of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Northwest, will become the new executive vice president and chief operating officer of Northwest during the transition period. As previously announced, Northwest’s current president and CEO, Doug Steenland, will leave to assume his seat on the new Delta Board of Directors.
Each of the officers of the new NWA structure will be officers of both NWA and Delta upon closing. “The officers named for both Delta and NWA are leaders of the new Delta,” said Bastian, who will have leadership roles in both organizations. “The final organizational structure will evolve over time, as the transition to a single operating certificate is achieved. We will not sacrifice revenue or cost-synergies by moving too quickly to integrate. Combining these two great airlines will be a well-planned, deliberate process.”
The new Delta will be headquartered in Atlanta and will maintain a significant long-term presence in Minnesota that includes both operation and staff functions beyond the 12-24 month transition of Northwest operations into Delta.
Anderson said, “We are already making great progress on our integration planning and are well ahead of previously attempted airline mergers in anticipation of gaining approval by the Department of Justice later this year. Today’s announcement is another important milestone in solidifying the leadership of the new Delta and accelerating the planning efforts that are essential to achieving a seamless integration after the closing of the merger. In light of the industry’s current challenges, including record high oil prices, it is clear we were smart to proceed when we did because this merger will provide the necessary revenue and cost synergies to better position the combined carrier for success over the long-term.”
Northwest’s CEO Steenland concluded, “As the planning continues and the transformation evolves, we ask that all Delta and Northwest people remain focused on operating our respective airlines. Thanks to the caliber of our people, we are confident we will complete the most successful merger in airline history.”
Delta in April announced that it is combining with Northwest in an all-stock transaction to create America’s premier global airline. The new company will be called Delta and will be headquartered in Atlanta. Combined, the company and its regional partners will provide customers access to more than 390 destinations in 67 countries. Together, Delta and Northwest will have more than $35 billion in aggregate annual revenues, operate a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft, employ approximately 75,000 people worldwide, and have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry. The merger is subject to the approval of Delta and Northwest stockholders and regulatory approvals, which are targeted for completion later this year.