• Sun. May 26th, 2024

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes to step down in February

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Robin Hayes, chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways Corp, speaks to guests following the airline’s inaugural flight from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York, U.S, to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London, U.K., on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes will step down next month, the company said Monday. The airline’s chief operating officer, Joanna Geraghty, will take the helm.

The departure comes as JetBlue is in the process of trying to acquire budget carrier Spirit Airlines, a nearly $4 billion combination that the New York-based carrier argues will help it grow and better compete against larger rivals like Delta and United.

The Justice Department last year sued to block the merger. A decision by a federal judge in Boston is expected in the coming weeks after a trial that wrapped up late last year.

Hayes, a more than three-decade airline industry veteran, cited the high-pressure nature of the job in announcing his resignation via a company statement.

“It’s bittersweet to retire from this airline I love, but I will always feel a part of the JetBlue team and be rooting for its continued success,” Hayes said. “However, 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.”

Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue Airways Corp., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Aviation Festival in London, U.K., on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hayes will remain on the board of directors after he leaves his post on Feb. 12 and will stay on as a strategic advisor. Geraghty will join the board.

JetBlue, whose flights are concentrated in the heavily congested New York-area airspace and other busy patches of the country like Florida, has also struggled with its performance in recent months.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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