One in Five Execs Hits the Bricks in Survival Move
America West Airlines has begun building the
streamlined and restructured management team promised by a
previously-announced plan to reduce costs, in an effort to protect
the airline's financial condition.
Approximately 250 management, professional and administrative
positions, primarily at the company's Tempe (AZ) headquarters; and
other Phoenix-area locations, are being eliminated. Executive
positions, those at the director level and above, have been reduced
by approximately 20 percent and are now 30 percent below early-2001
levels. Included in this reduction are five senior officer
"The airline industry remains in an unprecedented financial
crisis, forcing airlines to continue to be creative about serving
customers more efficiently and with less overhead," said Douglas
Parker, chairman, president and chief executive officer.
"Unfortunately, that requires making very difficult decisions. None
are more difficult and painful than those involving fellow
In a letter to employees dated March 24, 2003,
Parker said the airline set a goal of $100 million in cost
reductions "in order to maintain sufficient liquidity in this
uncertain environment." Included in that goal were reductions
- operating expenses;
- business partner and vendor fees;
- and management, professional and administrative payroll
Expenditures deemed necessary and critical to customer service
and to the safe operation of the airline were not impacted.
"Our goal has solely been to reduce overhead costs, providing
this does not sacrifice customer service or safety," added Parker.
"We remain hopeful that we can achieve our cost-reduction goals
without layoffs in other workgroups, and without asking employees
to take pay cuts."
Some Positions Eliminated Altogether; Others Consolidated
Lonnie Bane, senior vice president of
human resources, and Jack Richards, president and
chief executive officer of America West subsidiary The Leisure
Company, have announced their resignation from America West.
Neither position will be directly replaced. Human resources will
now report to Jeffrey McClelland, executive vice president and
chief operating officer. The Leisure Company will continue to
report to Scott Kirby, executive vice president of sales and
Additionally, Greg Garger, vice president of
labor relations, Patrick Sakole, vice president of
safety, and Mark West, vice president of
purchasing and fuel administration, have resigned from the
Garger's responsibilities will be assumed by
Shirley Kaufman, vice president of employee relations and human
resources, who will report to McClelland; Sakole's responsibilities
will remain under McClelland, who now also becomes America West's
chief safety officer; and West's responsibilities are being
consolidated under Michael Carreon, vice president and
"It is with sadness that we say farewell to these five
outstanding and very capable leaders, all of whom have made
tremendous contributions to America West, as well as to every
employee impacted by this action," Parker said. "We are grateful
for their service and for the excellent job they have done. Each
will be missed."