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William Douglas Parker
October 31, 1961
|Albion College (BA)
Vanderbilt University (MBA)
|Thomas W. Horton
William Douglas Parker (b. October 31, 1961) is an American businessman who is the chairman of American Airlines Group, the parent company of American Airlines. Parker previously served as chief executive officer of the airline from 2001 to 2023.
Early life and education
Parker grew up in Michigan and received a BA in Economics from Albion College (1984). He then received an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University (1986), where American Airlines offered him a job after a campus interview.
Parker was a financial analyst at American Airlines from 1986 to 1991, where he was a member of then CEO Robert Crandall's "Brat Pack", alongside Thomas W. Horton (former CEO President and Chairman of American), C. David Cush (former CEO of Virgin America), and Ben Baldanza (former CEO of Spirit Airlines).
Parker joined Northwest Airlines in 1991 and was tasked to help create a team that would systematically figure out where the airline was making and losing money. Tracking profits flight-by-flight in such detail at that level was a first for Northwest.
Parker became Chief Financial Officer of America West Airlines in 1995 after returning to the United States, and because then-CEO Bill Franke wanted to train him to be a CEO, Parker moved around between finance, sales, and operations. Parker was named Chairman and CEO in September 2001, 10 days before the September 11th terrorist attacks. Under Parker, America West was the first of several airlines to win post-9/11 federal loan guarantees, saving the airline from a second bankruptcy.
US Airways career
America West and US Airways merged in 2005, with Parker continuing as CEO of the combined company. US Airways made an unsuccessful bid to merge with Delta Air Lines as it was in bankruptcy protection in 2006, faltering as Delta rallied workers and creditors against the hostile bid. Creditors rejected the bid in early 2007. US Airways also attempted a merger with United Airlines in 2008 and in 2010, but United ultimately merged with Continental Airlines.
American Airlines career
In 2012, US Airways launched an effort to merge with American Airlines, while American's parent company, AMR Corporation, was in bankruptcy protection. US Airways took the unprecedented step of securing tentative contracts with American's labor groups, while AMR was still pushing to exit bankruptcy. That deal closed on 9 December 2013, and Parker was named CEO of the combined company, which became the world's largest airline. December 7, 2021, American Airlines Group announced Doug Parker will be retiring as the chief executive officer on March 31, 2022 he continued as chairman of American’s board before stepping down in April 2023. Robert Isom, the former president of American is now the new CEO.
In May of 2023, Parker joined the Qantas board.
Parker lives in Dallas, Texas. He is married to Gwen Parker, and has three children. He and his family are active members of Highland Park United Methodist Church.
Awards and appearances
- 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Southwest region.
- Commencement address at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management, 10 May 2013
- Recipient of the 2017 Tony Jannus Award for distinguished achievement in commercial air transportation.
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