America West Holdings Corporation
(NYSE: AWA) today announced the election of W. Douglas Parker as chairman,
president and chief executive officer of the company and its principal
subsidiary, America West Airlines, Inc.
“Doug Parker is an outstanding leader with great intellect, energy and
determination,” said Richard C. Kraemer, an America West director since 1992
and chairman of the company`s compensation committee. “He has an in-depth
knowledge of the industry garnered from more than 16 years in management and
executive positions with major airlines. Doug has been successful in every
endeavor he has undertaken at America West, including engineering the
airline`s dramatic operational turnaround. The board of directors has the
utmost confidence in Doug`s ability to lead the company into the future.”
Parker`s promotion, which is effective September 1, 2001, is the
culmination of a succession plan formulated by William A. Franke and the board
of directors over the past three years and follows Mr. Franke`s advice to the
board that he will retire from the company and the board.
“I am pleased and honored to succeed Bill Franke as chairman and chief
executive officer of America West, and I look forward to the challenges and
opportunities that lie ahead,” said Parker. “America West today is an
outstanding company with wonderful employees and a will to win. We will
continue to build on the successes we have enjoyed under Bill`s leadership.”
“Doug has for more than two years been intimately involved in the key
decisions at America West,” said Franke. “His success in leading the
turnaround of the airline`s operations is particularly noteworthy. I am
convinced he will provide the energy and commitment necessary for the long
term success of America West.”
Parker joined America West in June 1995 as senior vice president and chief
financial officer, and in September 1996 his responsibilities were expanded to
include the company`s scheduling, planning and revenue management functions.
In April 1999, he was promoted to executive vice president, corporate group,
adding responsibility for the company`s marketing and sales, corporate and
legal affairs, labor relations, information technology and public relations.
In May 2000, Parker was elected president with responsibility for all facets
of the airline`s operation, and in December 2000 he took the additional title
of chief operating officer.
Parker has been instrumental in recruiting the company`s current
management team and was a key architect of America West`s expansion strategy,
which resulted in the company`s record profitability between 1995 and 1999.
Additionally, he has led America West`s highly successful operational
turnaround over the past twelve months.
Franke was elected chairman of America West`s board of directors in
September 1992, when the company was operating in bankruptcy. He was named
chief executive officer in December 1993. Leading the company`s
restructuring, Franke re-engineered the airline`s system to establish
profitability and, with Texas Pacific Group, arranged the $200 million
financing that allowed America West to emerge from bankruptcy.
In 1995, Franke began recruiting a new management team, which includes
Parker and the officers that will lead the company going forward, and
initiated a growth strategy focused on the airline`s Phoenix hub that resulted
in: five consecutive years of record profitability; the expansion of the
airline`s fleet from 85 to 145 aircraft; the growth of the company`s workforce
from 9,000 to 14,000 employees; a significant expansion of Phoenix Sky Harbor
International Airport; and the increase in America West`s annual revenues from
$1.6 billion in 1995 to more than $2.3 billion in 2000.
“Under Bill Franke`s leadership, America West emerged to become an
established and respected airline with the ability to operate successfully in
a very competitive marketplace,” added Kraemer. “America West`s position
today as a $2.3 billion company and the nation`s eighth largest airline is a
testament to his vision, drive and business acumen, along with his ability to
make tough decisions in the face of adversity.”
Franke leaves America West to focus on his other business interests. He
will announce in due course his business plans. Franke currently owns a
financial services company with manufacturing and real estate holdings, and he
is a managing partner of a private equity fund that owns companies throughout
Latin America. Franke is also a director of Phelps Dodge Corp. and ON