JetBlue Airways president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty will succeed Robin Hayes as the company’s chief executive on 12 February.
The New York-based airline disclosed the planned CEO transition on 8 January, saying Hayes will act as a strategic advisory to JetBlue “over the coming months”.
Hayes will remain a member of the company’s board of directors until 12 February. On that date Geraghty will take a board seat.
“The extraordinary challenges and pressure of this job have taken their toll, and on the advice of my doctor and after talking to my wife, it’s time I put more focus on my health and well-being,” Hayes says. “I am deeply grateful for these many exciting years and I feel very lucky to have worked at an airline with a brand, culture and team that are simply unlike any other in the world.”
Geraghty takes JetBlue’s helm at a challenging time. The airline is fighting a federal lawsuit seeking to block its planned acquisition of Spirit Airlines – a deal JetBlue has described as critical to its ability to compete with much bigger airlines. The US Department of Justice views the deal as anti-competitive. A federal judge is expected to issue a ruling on the matter imminently.
Hayes joined JetBlue in 2008 and previously was the carrier’s chief commercial officer. He became CEO in 2015. Before working at JetBlue, Hayes was an executive vice-president at British Airways.
“It has been a privilege to lead JetBlue for the past nine years, and I am proud of all we have accomplished. With a rigorous succession plan in place, the board and I are confident that Joanna is more than ready, given her critical role in running JetBlue’s day-to-day business and positioning the airline for success.”
Geraghty has worked nearly 20 years at JetBlue and became chief operating officer in 2018. She held other roles including executive vice-president of customer experience, chief people officer and associate general counsel.
“I am honoured and excited to serve as the next CEO of JetBlue,” Geraghty says.