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Darla Moore School of Business

CEO Succession at American Airlines

A unique event to examine the experiences and lessons learned during the recent CEO succession at American Airlines led by the Center for Executive Succession. Join us for a rare peek into the inner workings of the complex process of CEO succession.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 |  12 - 1:30 p.m.

CEO Succession at American Airlines is open to CES partners, C-suite executives, members of corporate boards and invited guests. For more information, please contact

Pre-register in advance to attend.


Join us as faculty director Patrick Wright moderates an exclusive conversation with Doug Parker, current Chairman and retired CEO and Elise Eberwein, the former Executive Vice President, People and Communications of American Airlines to reflect on the succession journey from first consideration to final decision and how their roles evolved throughout the process.


doug parker headshot

Chairman and Retired CEO

Doug Parker retired as CEO of American Airlines in March 2022 after more than 35 years in the airline industry, including 20 years as CEO. He was named CEO of American following the merger of American and US Airways in 2013. Doug continues to serve as chairman of American’s board of directors.

Doug remains a strong supporter of the people of the airline industry and American is emblematic of the transformation that has occurred in the industry in recent years. The integration of American and US Airways was a success and the airline made unprecedented investments in its team members and product while returning money to shareholders. Doug’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic helped stabilize the industry during an unprecedented decline in demand for air travel.

Previously, Doug was Chairman and CEO of US Airways. Under his leadership, the airline achieved record revenue growth, operational performance and profit margins that outpaced most industry peers. Doug served as Chairman, President and CEO of America West Airlines prior to the merger of US Airways and America West in 2005. He became CEO of America West 10 days before Sept. 11, 2001, and led the carrier through the crisis.

Doug’s experience prior to joining America West in 1995 includes four years with Northwest Airlines as Vice President, Assistant Treasurer and Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis. From 1986 to 1991, he held several financial management positions with American.

Doug received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Wings Club Foundation and the Legend in Leadership Award from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute, in recognition of his extraordinary career. He is a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, the SMU Cox School of Business Executive Board, the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation Board of Directors and the International Air Transport Association Board of Governors.


elise erberwein headshot

Former Executive Vice President, People and Communications 

Elise Eberwein is the former Executive Vice President, People and Communications for American Airlines, the world’s largest passenger airline. Elise retired in 2022 after serving on the executive leadership team for 15 years overseeing all aspects of human resources, media relations, team member communications and engagement, community relations, and social media.

Previously, Elise served as Executive Vice President, People, Communications and Public Affairs for US Airways. She has more than 35 years of airline experience across several airlines, and has lead media relations, employee communications, customer relations, community relations and government affairs. She began her career as a flight attendant for TWA while earning an undergraduate degree in Mass Communications from Lindenwood University. She later earned an MBA at Colorado State University.

Under her stewardship, American set out to make culture a competitive advantage with an emphasis on creating an environment that cares for frontline team members who directly serve the airline’s customers. Additional work included leading the People team in revamping American’s maternity and adoption assistance programs, implementing system-wide implicit bias training, and building a multi-year leadership development program that reinforces the airline’s Leadership Attributes.

For 16 years American has achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, and the airline consistently receives top scores on the Disability Equality Index. American has also been recognized by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Employee Resource Groups and Councils, Diversity MBA Magazine, LATINA Style, Black EOE Journal and Equal Opportunity Magazine.

In addition to her work at American, Elise serves as a member of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board, the Wings Club Board of Directors, and the Corporate Angel Network Board of Directors.

pat wright headshot

Faculty Director, Center for Executive Succession

Patrick Wright is Thomas C. Vandiver Bicentennial Chair in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and the Founder and Director of the Center for Executive Succession. Prior to joining UofSC he has served on the faculties at Cornell University, Texas A&M University and the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Wright teaches, conducts research, and consults in the area of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM), particularly focusing on how firms use people as a source of competitive advantage, the changing nature of the Chief HR Officer role, and the challenges and best practices in CEO succession. He has published over 70 research articles in journals, over 60 chapters in books and edited volumes and has co-authored two textbooks and two books on HR practice. He is the past Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Management, and during his tenure, JOM made it on to the FT50 list.

He has conducted programs and/or consulted for a number of large organizations. He currently serves as a member on the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR) Foundation and is a former board member of NAHR, HRPS, the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Foundation and World at Work (formerly American Compensation Association). In 2005 he was named a Fellow in the National Academy of HR, in 2015 he was named a Fellow in the Academy of Management, and from 2011 to 2019 he was named by HRM Magazine as one of the 20 “Most Influential Thought Leaders in HR”. In 2014, he won SHRM’s Michael R. Losey for Human Resource Research Award and in 2017 he won the Herb Heneman Career Achievement Award in the HR Division of the Academy of Management. 


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