Photo Courtesy of Virgin AtlanticSteve Ridgway, the 11-year CEO of Virgin Atlantic who retires in February, is being replaced by Craig Kreeger, former Senior Vice President of Virgin rival, American Airlines. Kreeger is entering into a very different Virgin Atlantic than his predecessor, as he will take the executive seat only months after Delta Airlines purchased Singapore Airline’s 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for a mere $360 Million.
Though the purchase will certainly bring about some changes for the airline, Virgin Founder and President Richard Branson still retains the majority stake of 51%, and assures that Kreeger is “the right person...at this dynamic and challenging time.”
Kreeger, who spent nearly 30 years climbing the corporate ladder at American Airlines is Virgin’s hope to move into the Delta partnership as smoothly as possible, while strengthening their American ties. The new partnership is focused on gaining significant traffic for the transatlantic New York-London route. And together, the two airlines will boost their hold on that route, providing 36% of the business, slowly creeping up on British Airways and American’s 51% control of that circuit.
Kreeger is no stranger to reorganization on a corporate level, in fact he is quite friendly with it. His 27 years at American began as an analyst and ended in his appointment as senior vice president of customer service. And during his most recent year at the airline, he saw them file for bankruptcy, resulting in massive reorganization efforts. Kreeger is also well suited to the international collaboration, as he spent six years as senior vice president of international operations for American Airlines in London.