Is this the best airline CEO ever?

A few weeks ago, I profiled CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker on a statement he made during a press conference that many see as degrading against passengers and the people Doug serves. There was mixed reaction to the quote and how Parker really meant it to come across. Certainly, many would argue that Parker isn’t the best airline CEO ever. But who is?

Re-winding a few years, there’s then CEO and President of Japan Airlines (JAL), Haruka Nishimatsu. He rode the bus to work, and cut his pay during difficult times when the option of laying off workers was on the table.

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Haruka Nishimatsu

CBS interview Nishimatsu during one of their evening news specials:

CNN did a similar highlight:

Here’s Mr. Nishimatsu’s bipgraphy, courtesy of Bloomberg BusinessMr. Haruka Nishimatsu served as President of Japan Airlines Corp. and JAL Group from June 28, 2006 to January 2010. Mr. Nishimatsu served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (formerly Japan Airlines International Co., Ltd.), a subsidiary of Japan Airlines Corp. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Japan Airlines Domestic Co., Ltd. He served as Director of Finance Department at JAL International since April 1999. Mr. Nishimatsu served as Executive Officer of Finance & Investor Relations at Japan Airlines Corp. since April 2003, Senior Vice President of Finance and Purchasing until June 2006 and also served as its Vice President of Finance. He served as Senior Vice President of Finance & Purchasing at JAL International and JAL Domestic since April 2005. He served as Senior Vice President of Finance & Purchasing at JAL Corporation since June 2005. He served as a Member of the Board of Governors of The International Air Transport Association. He served as a Director of Japan Airlines Corp. until March 28, 2011. Mr. Nishimatsu is a graduate in Economics at the University of Tokyo.

So…Is Nishimatsu the profile of the “best airline CEO?” What if he ran the new American Airlines, or, any American airline for that matter.

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