Delta names new comms head, changes management structure

ATLANTA: Delta Air Lines, which Wednesday announced a major management restructuring effective June 1, has tapped Dan Lewis, MD of corporate communications, to replace retiring head of corporate communications Tom Slocum.

ATLANTA: Delta Air Lines, which Wednesday announced a major management restructuring effective June 1, has tapped Dan Lewis, MD of corporate communications, to replace retiring head of corporate communications Tom Slocum.

Under the new structure, Lewis as corp-comms head, will report to the general counsel rather than to the CEO, as Slocum currently does.

The restructuring comes during a period of turmoil for the airline. Delta posted a $383 million first-quarter loss and has recently warned the SEC that it may seek bankruptcy protection if it cannot receive concessions from its pilots.

The company's effort to regain sustained profitability would take "determination, agility and a willingness to run the company in non-traditional ways," Gerald Grinstein, Delta's CEO, said in a statement.

In a fairly unusual move, Lewis will report to Greg Riggs, who will be SVP, general counsel, and chief corporate affairs officer. Riggs, currently SVP and general counsel, will assume responsibility for Delta's legal, corporate communications, and government and public affairs divisions.

PRWeek's 2003 Corporate Survey found that only 3% of the 1,200 respondents reported to their company's general counsel.

The switch is an attempt to streamline communication with the CEO, Lewis said. "We are trying to create a hybrid that provides him with good counsel while reducing the number of direct reports."

Lewis added that he will still "be sitting in our executive council, which is the top decision-making body in the company and will continue to have dotted-line communication with the CEO."

The restructuring will not change Delta's relationship with Ketchum, the firm's AOR, Lewis said.

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