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JetBlue promotes Geraghty to president and COO

JetBlue Airways has promoted Joanna Geraghty to president and chief operating officer, making her the highest-level female executive in an US airline industry where C-suites are dominated by men.

Geraghty, who was most recently executive vice-president of customer experience at JetBlue, will report to chief executive Robin Hayes, who had previously also held the role of president.

Geraghty will oversee the airline's day-to-day operations, including customer service, structural cost initiatives and improving operational performance, says the New York-based carrier. She will be responsible for JetBlue's commercial team, led by executive vice-president for commercial and planning Marty St George.

Her promotion is part of senior leadership changes announced today by the airline, in an effort to "enhance day-to-day operations and better support execution" of the carrier's longer-term strategic initiatives, says JetBlue.

"This new structure will allow focus on the core airline business while providing an organisational structure to innovate and grow in the travel and vacations space," says Hayes.

JetBlue has come under pressure from Wall Street of late, as concerns over its cost control and a pending pilot contract have cast an overhang on its stock price. The airline recently said it had reached an agreement in principle with its pilots union, but the deal would still have to be approved by union leadership before going to a ratification vote.

Geraghty has worked for JetBlue since 2005. Prior to her most recent role overseeing customer experience, she was chief people officer from 2010 to 2014. She was previously the airline's vice-president and associate general counsel, and director of litigation and regulatory affairs.

The airline says that Jeff Martin, currently executive vice-president of operations, will take on a senior advisor role at the airline.

In addition, the airline has expanded the responsibilities of two other executives.

Warren Christie has been named senior vice-president for safety, security and fleet operations, reporting to Geraghty. He joined the airline in 2003 and has held various roles in safety, security, regulatory and training.

Ian Deason was named senior vice-president of customer experience, adding inflight and customer support to his oversight of the airline's airports team. He will also report to Geraghty.

Separately, JetBlue's executive vice-president for corporate affairs and general counsel James Hnat will retire effective 30 June. He will, however, continue to advise the airline on its investments in JetSuite and JetBlue Technology Ventures until end-2018, and will continue to serve on the airline's board.

Hnat joined the airline in 2001. The airline's associate general counsel, Brandon Nelson, will serve as the carrier's acting general counsel, reporting to Hayes.

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