JetBlue Appoints the First Female CEO of a Major Airline

Joanna Geraghty, 51, will step into the role of CEO at JetBlue, making her the first woman to lead a major U.S. airline. Geraghty began her tenure at JetBlue nearly two decades ago, in 2005. She has served as president and chief operating officer since 2018. Geraghty emphasized her commitment to driving strategic initiatives, restoring profitability, and creating enduring value for shareholders.

Geraghty’s promotion comes as Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s current CEO, prepares to retire due to health concerns. Hayes, 57, acknowledged the taxing nature of his role, citing the need to prioritize his well-being following advice from his doctor and discussions with his family.

Geraghty is scheduled to become CEO on Feb. 12, around the time when a federal judge will decide if JetBlue can legally acquire Spirit Airlines. JetBlue has actively pursued mergers to narrow the gap with industry giants like American, Delta, United, and Southwest. Notably, in 2016, Hayes had previously attempted to acquire Virgin America, only to be outbid by Alaska Airlines.

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