Richard Anderson Spent 14 Years With NWA, Two As Chief
The question of who will succeed
Gerald Grinstein as Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines
appears to have an answer. Numerous reports state Richard Anderson,
who served as CEO of Northwest Airlines from 2002-2004, will be
named as Delta's new CEO Tuesday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Anderson, 52, was named
to Delta's new board of directors when the carrier emerged from
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.
Anderson (right), currently executive vice-president at
UnitedHealth Group, spent 14 years at Northwest, starting in the
airline's legal department. He served as CEO as Northwest
spiraled downward towards near-oblivion, in the face
of high costs, low-fare competition, and the industry-wide
As ANN reported, both
Northwest and Delta filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on the same day
in September 2005.
The decision to name Anderson as CEO appears to contradict
Grinstein's wish to have his successor picked from within Delta's
current management structure, which along with Grinstein saw Delta
through the torturous bankruptcy period, as well as its successful
thwarting of a hostile takeover bid from US Airways. Ed Bastian,
Delta's Chief Financial Officer, and COO Jim Whitehurst were seen
as the most likely candidates.
Bastian will reportedly serve as President under Anderson,
according to a report by branding consultant Jeremy C. Garlington,
who also speculates Whitehurst will resign immediately.
Given Anderson's past history with Northwest, his appointment
will likely fuel renewed speculation of a Delta/NWA merger down the
"It makes you wonder whether that facilitates discussions or
frustrates them," airline consultant Robert Mann told The Wall