He replaces Perry Cantarutti who will leave Delta on secondment to the SkyTeam global airline alliance to assume the position of Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director.

Based in Paris, Pieper will have accountability for all of Delta’s Europe, Middle East and Africa commercial activities, including maximizing the long-term growth opportunities for Delta’s joint venture agreement with Air France KLM and Alitalia – the industry’s largest trans-Atlantic alliance – as well as the partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Pieper will report to Delta’s president, Ed Bastian.

“Nat’s outstanding record of strategic fleet management, combined with his experience of forging world-class partnerships, will keep Delta on course for success on the trans-Atlantic, continuing the great work achieved under Perry Cantarutti,” said Ed Bastian.

An aviation industry veteran with 18 years’ experience, Pieper was previously Delta’s Vice President of Fleet Strategy and Transactions, responsible for strategy, analysis, acquisition, disposition and investment in Delta’s 1300 mainline and regional aircraft. Over the past five years, Delta has acquired more than 400 aircraft as part of its fleet optimization strategy, during which Pieper led seven aircraft acquisition campaigns.

Having joined Northwest Airlines’ Finance department in 1997, Pieper held a number of leadership roles at Northwest including Vice President – Alliances, where he led Northwest’s innovative trans-Atlantic joint venture with KLM. He also served as Vice Chairman of SkyTeam.

Pieper holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance, strategy and transportation management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.