Craig Kreeger named Virgin Atlantic’s new CEO

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Virgin Atlantic Airways has confirmed the appointment of Craig Kreeger as its new chief executive, replacing outgoing CEO Steve Ridgway.

Kreeger will join Sir Richard Branson's airline on 1 February after a 27-year career at American Airlines, which included several senior vice-president roles.

His immediate priorities will centre on the implementation of Virgin's joint venture with Delta Air Lines, as well as rolling out its new domestic services at London Heathrow airport.

"I am very pleased to welcome Craig Kreeger to Virgin Atlantic as the new CEO," says Ridgway, who announced the end of his 11-year tenure last September.

"He will be taking over at a time when the airline enters a new phase - with the Delta deal to implement, the commencement of short-haul competition for BA on UK domestic routes, as well as the arrival of the ultra-efficient [Boeing] 787 fleet in 2014."

Kreeger was appointed senior vice-president, customer at American Airlines in 2012, having spent six years as its London-based senior vice-president, international.

He has worked closely with Oneworld alliance member British Airways, with whom American Airlines sealed its transatlantic joint venture in 2010, following years of opposition by regulators.

Virgin vociferously lobbied against that partnership, and it is styling its Delta tie-up as an assault on BA's dominant market share at Heathrow.

"I am delighted to be taking on the role of Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive," says Kreeger. "I have been competing with it for many years, but have always admired its laser focus on its people, its products and its customers."