Longtime CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes, has announced his retirement due to health reasons, effective February 12. His successor will be Joanna Geraghty, the current president of JetBlue. This appointment marks a historic moment as Geraghty will become the first woman to lead a major U.S. airline.
Hayes has been an influential figure at JetBlue since 2008, guiding the airline through a period of significant growth and expansion. He played a key role in the development of JetBlue’s Mint business-class product and its first routes to Europe. Additionally, he made an ambitious attempt to acquire Virgin America in 2016, although he was ultimately outbid by Alaska Airlines.
One notable event in JetBlue’s recent history was the establishment of a partnership with American Airlines, called the Northeast Alliance, in 2020. Unfortunately, this alliance was later dismantled by a court ruling. Currently, the airline is eagerly awaiting the decision on an antitrust trial that challenges its planned acquisition of Spirit Airlines.
Throughout the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Geraghty has played a crucial role in JetBlue’s operations and strategic planning. She has been actively involved in initiatives such as the airline’s transatlantic expansion and has been increasingly seen as a face of the airline.
Geraghty’s journey with JetBlue began in 2005 when she joined as a lawyer after working as a partner at a law firm. Over the years, she has exhibited a deep understanding of the airline industry and has contributed greatly to JetBlue’s success.
As the new CEO, Geraghty will undoubtedly face many exciting opportunities and challenges. She will have the chance to build upon JetBlue’s legacy and shape its future direction, all while making history as the first woman to lead a major U.S. airline.