ATLANTA, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has promoted Richard "Ben" Hirst to the position of executive vice president and chief legal officer, effective immediately. In his new role, Hirst will continue reporting to Delta CEO Richard Anderson.

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Reporting to Hirst will be Andrea Newman, senior vice president – Government Affairs, Robert Rivkin, senior vice president and deputy general counsel – International and Regulatory Affairs and Peter Kenney, vice president – Deputy General Counsel.

"Ben is a seasoned professional who has provided strong legal and regulatory leadership for Delta's strategic initiatives," Anderson said. "Ben is a savvy counselor and a fine contributor to our success."

In his most recent position as senior vice president and general counsel, Hirst oversaw Delta's legal and government affairs strategy in advocating for U.S. policy changes to allow the nation's airlines to compete effectively in a global marketplace. He also was a key member of the team responsible for the slot swap transaction which enabled Delta's 2012 expansion at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Hirst has continued to be instrumental in working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Justice and other authorities in finalizing Delta's joint venture and alliance partnerships.

Before being appointed to a leadership position at Delta in 2008, Hirst served as Northwest Airlines' senior vice president – Corporate Affairs and General Counsel since 2007, where he was responsible for the company's legal affairs and communications. Prior to that, he held leadership positions including executive vice president and chief legal officer of KB Home, executive vice president and general counsel of Burger King Corporation, general counsel of the Minnesota Twins, senior vice president and general counsel of Northwest Airlines during an earlier stint and vice president, general counsel and secretary at Continental Airlines.

In addition to his corporate experience, Hirst's background also includes serving as associate professor of Law at the University of Puget Sound Law School in Tacoma, Wash., and assistant to the director of International and Domestic Aviation for the Civil Aeronautics Board during the deregulation of the airline industry. In his early career Hirst was in private law practice in Vermont, served as a law clerk in U.S. District Court in Vermont and was a reporter for the Providence Journal-Bulletin in Rhode Island.

Hirst graduated from Harvard College in 1969 and Harvard Law School in 1972.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. Delta was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired airline worldwide in its 2013 World's Most Admired Companies airline industry list, topping the list for the second time in three years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 313 destinations in 57 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. Delta is investing more than $3 billion in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground.  Additional information is available on, Twitter @Delta, and

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

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