ATLANTA, Aug. 21, 2007 – The Board of Directors of Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today announced it has elected Richard H. Anderson to serve as the company’s chief executive officer, succeeding retiring CEO Gerald Grinstein. Anderson brings a unique depth of experience to the position, having served in top jobs for several major U.S. corporations, including executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group; chief executive officer of Northwest Airlines; staff vice president and deputy general counsel at Continental Airlines; and most recently as a member of Delta’s Board of Directors. Anderson will become CEO effective Sept. 1.
“After a thorough search, the Board concluded that Richard Anderson possesses the right blend of seasoned leadership, strategic skills, international experience and airline knowledge the company needs to navigate the industry’s challenges and capitalize on its opportunities,” said Daniel A. Carp, chairman of Delta’s Board of Directors. “Well-qualified with a proven track record in this highly competitive industry, Richard has a demonstrated ability to master the competitive pressures of today’s marketplace with innovation and an unwavering focus on the customer. He brings complementary strengths to Delta’s highly talented leadership team and high admiration for the people of Delta and their recent success in restructuring to become a fiercely competitive airline.”
Anderson, age 52, has nearly 20 years of airline industry experience and will become the eighth CEO in Delta’s 78-year history.
“Delta people have made amazing accomplishments and have a passion for customer service that is renowned in the industry. I am honored to accept the challenge of leading this legendary company into a future that holds great promise,” Anderson said. “With a solid strategy in place that provides a dynamic platform for future growth and success, I look forward to working side by side with Delta professionals to make Delta an undisputed leader in customer service, operational performance and financial strength and stability.
“In the coming weeks, I will spend the majority of my time listening to Delta people to learn how we can further improve the customer experience and position our company as an even better place to work. Backed by award-winning products and services, Delta has great things in store for its customers and I am eager to support the commitment of our 48,000 dedicated professionals worldwide to remaining the airline of choice for our customers,” Anderson stated.
With Anderson’s appointment, Gerald Grinstein, 75, will retire from his position as CEO and a member of the Board of Directors effective Sept. 1, concluding his distinguished 20-year tenure as a Delta director.
“It has been a privilege to serve this company and the greatest people in the industry,” Grinstein said. “I have known Richard for a long time. He is a ferocious competitor, thoroughly knowledgeable about airline operations, and understands the link between passenger satisfaction and living up to our service commitments. He has an extensive background in the Far East and Asia, which are among Delta’s next growth opportunities. Richard’s sound judgment and professionalism make him a great addition to Delta’s battle-tested leadership team.”
In addition to Anderson’s appointment, the Board of Directors also announced that Chief Financial Officer Edward H. Bastian will be promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer, reporting to Anderson.
“Richard Anderson is a true professional with a proven track record,” Bastian said. “I am looking forward to working with Richard as we position our company for an even stronger future.”
Anderson brings to Delta extensive leadership experience at the most senior levels in the aviation industry as well as in other corporations. Most recently, Anderson served as executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and president of UnitedHealth’s Commercial Markets Group. Prior to joining UnitedHealth in 2004, he had a 14-year career at Northwest Airlines where he served as vice president and deputy general counsel; senior vice president of Technical Operations and Airport Affairs; executive vice president and chief operating officer; and as chief executive officer from 2001 to 2004. Prior to joining Northwest in 1990, Anderson worked as in-house counsel for Continental Airlines, where he ultimately served as staff vice president and deputy general counsel. Anderson also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Cargill Inc. and Medtronic Inc.
Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law. He and his wife, Susan, look forward to relocating to the Atlanta area this fall.
Delta Air Lines operates service to more destinations than any global airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 328 destinations in 56 countries. Since 2005, Delta has added more international capacity than all other major U.S. airlines combined and is a leader across the Atlantic with flights to 36 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers more than 600 weekly flights to nearly 60 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 15,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 481 worldwide destinations in 105 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
Additional information on Delta’s appointment of a new CEO – including audio and video clips of Richard Anderson and Gerald Grinstein – can be found at the newsroom at news.delta.com and via satellite at the following coordinates:
Feed date: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007
Feed time: 5-6 p.m. EDT
AMC 2 KU Digital
Transponder 3 Channel A9
Uplink 14046.5 Horizontal
Downlink 11746.5 Vertical
Carrier Access 1-877-358-2263
Statements in this news release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections or strategies for the future, may be “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the cost of aircraft fuel; the impact that our indebtedness will have on our financial and operating activities and our ability to incur additional debt; the restrictions that financial covenants in our financing agreements will have on our financial and business operations; labor issues; interruptions or disruptions in service at one of our hub airports; our increasing dependence on technology in our operations; our ability to retain management and key employees; the ability of our credit card processors to take significant holdbacks in certain circumstances; the effects of terrorist attacks; and competitive conditions in the airline industry. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in Delta’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2007. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on Delta’s forward-looking statements, which represent Delta’s views only as of Aug. 21, 2007, and which Delta has no current intention to update.