The governing Board of airline alliance oneworld has elected American Airlines’ chairman, president and chief executive Tom Horton as its chairman.
The news comes despite the American carrier filing for bankruptcy last month.
Horton takes over from Gerard Arpey, whom he succeeded at the helm of American Airlines late last month following Arpey’s decision to retire from the carrier.
Tom Horton’s nomination was made at the oneworld governing board’s final meeting of the year, held in New York, where the alliance’s headquarters has been based since June.
He will act as ‘first among equals’ of the chief executives of the group’s member airlines, leading oneworld as the alliance undergoes its biggest expansion in five years with the addition in 2012 of airberlin, Kingfisher Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby said: “Tom offered to hand over the baton as oneworld chairman from American Airlines to one of our other airlines but the unanimous view was that the alliance would benefit greatly at this time from the continuity in our leadership that Tom represents - while at the same time underlining the commitment of oneworld to American while it undergoes its restructuring.
“We appreciate Tom agreeing to take on this role at this time.
“He worked hand-in-glove in alliance matters with Gerard Arpey during Gerard’s period of tenure as oneworld chairman and has played a pivotal role in strengthening our alliance through the significant deepening of cooperation between American and so many of our other member airlines in recent years.
“We thank Gerard sincerely for his leadership of oneworld during the past three great years of progress for our group.
“We are fortunate to have in Tom a man with the vision, diplomacy, determination and overall capabilities to lead us forward on our journey to establish oneworld as the first choice alliance for frequent global travellers the world over.”
oneworld is considered the World’s Leading Airline Alliance by the World Travel Awards.