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American Airlines Attorneys Fill Top Jobs Under Incoming CEO

Dec. 14, 2021, 6:23 PM

After naming a new chief executive officer last week, American Airlines Group Inc. is promoting attorneys Priya Aiyar and Stephen Johnson to top leadership positions.

Aiyar will be senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief legal officer when she starts March 31. She has been senior vice president and general counsel at American since September 2019.

Johnson will be executive vice president and strategic adviser to the CEO, leadership team and board of directors. Since 2009 he has been executive vice president of corporate affairs, overseeing legal affairs, government and regulatory affairs, labor relations and real estate and airport affairs.

The new roles follow American naming Robert Iso to replace CEO Doug Parker, who has led the airline since 2013. Parker is stepping down from that job March 31 but staying on as board chairman.

Parker led the airline as the coronavirus pandemic precipitated months of chaos in airline travel. Passenger traffic fell as the pandemic took hold in 2020 and then rekindled earlier this year, but it has since dropped again as the spread of the Delta variant suppressed demand for flights.

Before joining American, Aiyar was a partner at Wilkie Farr & Gallagher since 2017. She previously held federal roles as U.S. Treasury Department acting general counsel and deputy general counsel, and U.S. Energy Department deputy general counsel.

She also held posts with the Federal Communications Commission and on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. After clerking for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was a federal judge and, separately, for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Aiyar was a partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel.

Before joining American, Johnson was a partner at Indigo Partners, a private equity firm specializing in investments in the airline industry. He earlier held executive positions at American West and practiced law at Bogle & Gates in Seattle.

Airlines have been forced to navigate a host of controversial issues such as vaccinations and mask wearing. Passenger misbehavior has become more frequent and more dangerous, requiring airlines to adjust operational and legal policies, as well as training, to cope with effectively handling their clients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson1@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloombergindustry.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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