With the merging of US Airways and American in 2013, there’s certainly been a lot of “repeat” positions between the two companies, which is natural for any two organizations going through a merger.
Now, American’s Doug Parker (CEO) and Robert Isom (President) have announced potential lay-offs (involuntary departures) from American for many Director and above positions.
In an email sent out to out to American’s management and support staff team members:
Dear Management and Support Staff Team Members,
Earlier today, we held our quarterly director and above meeting where we discussed our need to operate more efficiently and build the next generation of leaders. We’ve been talking about playing the long game for some time and an important piece of this is creating the right organizational structure for the future. Our current organizational structure resulted largely from integration work that followed our merger and, as all companies do from time to time, we need to evaluate our current organization with a goal to operate more productively. This work starts at the top. As a result of the integration work required, American has more director and above leaders than we require for the long term. It is a worthy exercise to consider each leader’s span of care (how many direct reports one has), individual performance, and growth opportunities within each area. Over the next several weeks, our top leaders will engage in career conversations with their director and above team members that will include both some involuntary exits as well as an option for those who have been with the company for at least two years to leave American voluntarily with severance benefits. Similar to early outs that have been offered to several of our frontline groups, this is an opportunity for team members at those levels to reflect on their current roles and their futures. It will also give department leaders the opportunity to potentially combine positions at those levels. The outcome will provide future growth opportunities for team members who have not yet reached the level of director, and reduce overall positions of higher management. Reviewing our current structure and having this dialogue with top leaders is a productive way to appreciate what has been created thus far, build on that momentum for the future, and open new paths of career progression for the next generation of leaders. While much of this restructuring will happen at the director and above level, we will also take the opportunity to look at our non-frontline facing management structure. The majority of improving efficiency at those levels will happen through the elimination of open positions and attrition. However, as leaders take the time to look at their organization, there is the potential for some involuntary departures as well. In those cases, impacted team members would also receive severance benefits and outplacement assistance. We are nearly five years into integration. While not all integration work is complete, much of it is and as a result, now is the right time to look at the organizational structure we need for the future. This will require all of us to challenge the way we have always done things and think creatively and broadly about American’s very bright future. Thank you for being part of this journey and for all you do for American.
The outcome here is that many will be asked to voluntarily leave, some will be asked to involuntarily leave, and there’s the potential for some to get promoted into what will be soon-to-be-open positions.
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