TEXAS: American Airlines, the number two US carrier after United
Airlines, has appointed a new marketing and communications chief.
As executive vice-president for marketing and planning, Michael Gunn has
overall responsibility for the company’s communications. He will oversee
60 PR staff, with general control over a further 29,000 employees
globally, reporting to chairman and chief executive Don Carty.
Prior to his appointment Gunn was AA’s senior vice-president for
marketing and communications. At that stage PR came under the brief of
Tom Kiernan, senior vice-president of human resources, who Gunn reported
to. Gunn has worked for the airline since 1970, and has served as
chairman of the American Travel Industry Association.
The airline is currently trying to implement its Airline Leadership
Plan, to improve its culture, safety systems and service offering.
Gunn’s appointment is part of this, and follows a shake-up of the firm’s
entire boardroom management tier. It is matched by three other
vice-presidential appointments although William Ris remains the
company’s executive vice-president for government relations.
In the US, PR is handled in-house, including internal and corporate
communications, public affairs and financial PR. In Europe, the company
uses agencies on a project basis through its UK HQ in Hounslow. Millbank
PR launched its ’Travelator’ at Bank station on the London Underground,
while Axicom handled PR for its web site, www.aa.com.