This just in: even though it’s only a few months old, Virgin America has been looking for a new chief executive since it started up. Not that there’s anything wrong with Fred Reid, the former Delta and Lufthansa executive who has served as its chief executive from Day One. But Reid has had to plan on leaving since the airline started flights because Transportation Department regulators insisted on his departure as a condition of granting VAm its operating rights. Reid, a California native, was too close to Richard Branson and VAm’s British investors at Virgin Atlantic, the regulators ruled. Now, the airline has found Reid’s successor, a genuine American from Shreveport, Louisiana. Dave Cush, the highly regarded senior vice president for global sales at American Airlines, will take over. Cush, who has been American’s St. Louis hub manager and its vice president for international planning and global alliances, has also managed American’s Caribbean and Latin operations and spent two years as chief operating officer at Aerolineas Argentinas, when American managed and partially owned its oneworld ally. Cush has gained note for American’s role in renegotiating agreements with the Global Distribution Systems as well as the airline’s big leap forward in its web offerings and loyalty plans. Cush, who studied film and broadcast as an undergraduate and so may be well suited for the move to Virgin’s San Francisco home base, has increasingly become involved in the creation and design of American’s premium cabins and clubs. Cush’s appointment was announced by Virgin’s board chairman, Don Carty, the former chief executive at American Airlines.
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