WASHINGTON – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization representing the leading U.S. airlines, announced today that Delta Air Lines CEO Richard H. Anderson has been elected chairman of the ATA Board of Directors. Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Gary C. Kelly was named vice chairman.
Anderson, who succeeds United’s Glenn F. Tilton and Kelly both will serve a two-year term.
“Richard Anderson is a strong leader and a proven chief executive, with the necessary credentials to further propel the mission of ATA as it faces the challenges and priorities in this next Congress,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “Richard Anderson, Gary Kelly and incoming ATA President and CEO Nick Calio will complement each other as the association’s board representatives with the administration and the new Congress.”
“I look forward to working cooperatively with the administration, Congress and regulatory agencies to advance initiatives that support continued improvements in the financial health of the U.S. aviation industry and maintain our focus on safety,” said Anderson. “Airlines are a vital industry in the U.S. and provide 11 million jobs annually. Our association’s focus is to move tax and regulatory oversight in a direction that fosters growth and makes us an even stronger economic engine for America.”
“I look forward to serving as ATA Board vice chairman,” Kelly said. “I am committed to our continued work to help ensure the long-term stability and viability of the aviation industry.”
Richard Anderson became Delta Air Lines CEO in September 2007 and was the architect of the airline’s merger with Northwest Airlines, which closed in October 2008. Prior to joining Delta, Anderson was executive vice president at UnitedHealth Group and served as president of UnitedHealth’s Commercial Markets Group. He also served as CEO of Northwest Airlines from 2001 to 2004.
Kelly began his career at Southwest Airlines as controller in 1986, moving up to chief financial officer and vice president of finance, then executive vice president and CFO, before being promoted to CEO and vice chairman in July 2004. Gary assumed the role of chairman in May 2008 and president in July 2008. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1986, Gary was a CPA for Arthur Young & Company in Dallas and controller for Systems Center, Inc.
ATA recently named Nicholas E. Calio president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Calio currently leads Global Government Affairs for Citigroup, both in the United States and in the more than 100 countries in which the company does business. Prior to joining Citigroup in 2003, Calio was the assistant to the president for legislative affairs and service as chief liaison to the U.S. Congress for President George W. Bush, the same position he held under President George H.W. Bush.