JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) has made a pivotal announcement today, marking a significant shift in its leadership structure. Joanna Geraghty, who currently holds the positions of president and chief operating officer at the company, is set to succeed Robin Hayes as the chief executive officer, effective February 12, 2024. This transition not only signifies a new chapter for JetBlue but also underscores the airline’s commitment to continuity and strategic growth.
Robin Hayes, who has been at the helm of JetBlue for nearly a decade, will continue to serve on the company’s Board of Directors until the transition date. Post-transition, Hayes will take on the role of a strategic advisor to the company, lending his vast experience and insights gained from a distinguished career in the aviation industry. Reflecting on his tenure, Hayes expressed mixed emotions about his retirement, acknowledging the demands of the role and the impact on his health and well-being. He expressed deep gratitude for his time at JetBlue, a period marked by significant growth and innovation.
Joanna Geraghty’s appointment as CEO is the culmination of a rigorous succession plan, underscoring the board’s confidence in her capabilities. Geraghty has been instrumental in steering JetBlue’s day-to-day business and positioning the airline for future success. Her leadership was particularly notable during the most turbulent times in airline history, including overseeing the development and execution of new commercial initiatives and working tirelessly to enhance the experience for crewmembers and customers. Geraghty has also played an active role in the integration planning of JetBlue’s proposed Spirit transaction.
Peter Boneparth, chair of JetBlue’s Board, praised both Hayes for his outstanding leadership and Geraghty for her strategic vision. He highlighted Hayes’ role in guiding the airline through significant changes and innovations, particularly during the COVID crisis and the pursuit of the transformative Spirit acquisition. The board’s unanimous decision to transition the CEO role to Geraghty reflects their belief in her readiness and ability to lead JetBlue into its next chapter.
Geraghty, in her response to the announcement, expressed her honor and excitement about leading JetBlue. She emphasized the airline’s status as a disruptor in the industry, with a beloved brand, industry-leading customer experience, and a unique culture. Geraghty is looking forward to building on the momentum established over the last 20-plus years, focusing on strategic initiatives, returning to profitable growth, and generating sustainable value for shareholders and stakeholders.
During her nearly 20-year tenure at JetBlue, Geraghty has held various roles with increasing responsibility. Before being named president and COO in 2018, she served as executive vice president, customer experience, and as vice president, associate general counsel, and director, litigation and regulatory affairs. Geraghty’s diverse experience within JetBlue positions her uniquely to take on the challenges and opportunities of the CEO role.
In addition to her responsibilities at JetBlue, Geraghty serves on the board of directors of L3Harris Technologies and is the chairperson of the board of Concern Worldwide, an international not-for-profit organization. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.
As JetBlue Airways embarks on this new journey with Joanna Geraghty at the helm, the airline looks forward to a future of continued innovation, growth, and commitment to its customers and crewmembers, maintaining its position as a leading player in the aviation industry.