Corp comms VP John McDonald to depart American Airlines next month

The airline has not named a replacement. Michelle Mohr, MD of operations communications, and MD of corporate communications Christine Kelley Singley will co-lead its comms team.

FORT WORTH, TX: John McDonald, American Airlines Group’s VP of corporate communications and public affairs, will depart the company next month.

The airline has not named a replacement for McDonald, its MD of corporate communications, Christine Kelley Singley, told PRWeek via email. Michelle Mohr, MD of operations communications, and Singley are co-leading the communications team, reporting to EVP of people and communications Elise Eberwein, she added.

McDonald’s role includes responsibility for American Airlines’ comms and public affairs activities, including media relations, employee communications, social media, and community relations. He also handles crisis management and merger-related integration management communications for legacy US Airways and American Airlines, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In December 2013, American Airlines and US Airways completed their merger, forming American Airlines Group, with the goal of helping American compete with rival carriers.

McDonald, who was formerly the VP of corporate communications at Tempe, Arizona-headquartered US Airways, told PRWeek via email that he "made it clear to all" when the merger was announced in February 2013 that he planned to stay in Arizona. The combined company’s headquarters is in Forth Worth, Texas.

"[Eberwein] was kind enough to ask me to be a part of the officer transition team to get the merger done, start the transition, and help put in place what I believe to be the best corporate communications team in the airline industry," McDonald said.

Before joining US Airways in July 2011, he was director of operations communications for United Airlines. Previously, he managed corporate communications for General Motors from 2000 to 2010, was a managing supervisor at FleishmanHillard, and served as director of media relations for Trans World Airlines, according to his LinkedIn profile.

McDonald added that he is not retiring, but taking a break. His to-do list includes strategic consulting work and writing a memoir.

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