Virgin Atlantic has appointed Craig Kreeger as its new chief executive. He will assume the role on February 1st 2013.
He joins from rival American Airlines, where he has had a 27-year career spanning commercial, financial and strategic roles in the US and around the globe.
Kreeger, 53, succeeds current chief executive, Steve Ridgway, who is retiring from the airline.
Kreeger, a graduate of the University of California in San Diego and with a MBA from UCLA, joined AA in 1985 as an analyst and was appointed senior vice president, customer in 2012.
He spent six years in London as senior vice president, international and was responsible for AA operations and sales throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific.
He has worked on AA joint ventures with British Airways and Iberia across the Atlantic, as well as its partnership with Japanese Airlines in the Pacific.
Last September, Virgin Atlantic announced Steve Ridgway would retire in spring 2013, once a successor was in place.
Steve has had a 23-year tenure with Virgin Atlantic and became chief executive in 2001.
During his time at the airline, Virgin Atlantic has grown from two 747s to a fleet of 40 long haul aircraft, flying six million passengers a year all over the world.
Kreeger joins at an exciting time for the airline as Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic finalise their agreement for a new joint venture that will create an expanded Trans-Atlantic network.
This new venture will materially enhance competition between the UK and North America, offering great benefits for customers travelling on those routes.
Virgin Atlantic president, Richard Branson said: “We are thrilled to welcome Craig to Virgin Atlantic – he is the right person to succeed Steve Ridgway at this dynamic and challenging time for our airline.
“We believe Craig has the experience and passion to drive Virgin Atlantic forward and capitalise on the opportunities created by our new venture with Delta Airlines.”