FORT WORTH, TX: American Airlines corporate communications VP Andy Backover will depart the company following the completion of its merger with US Airways, according to an internal memo seen by PRWeek.
John McDonald, VP of corporate communications at US Airways, will serve as VP of corporate communications and public affairs at the combined company. He will report to EVP of people and communications Elise Eberwein and oversee internal and external global communications, social media, and community relations.
McDonald confirmed the changes but declined to comment further.
Backover will continue to serve in an interim transitional role until the merger closes this fall. He is co-chairing an integration-planning team, along with McDonald, to determine the structure of the new communications department.
Ryan Price, VP of people at US Airways, will also exit the company later this year. Cindy Fiedelman, American's VP of people and diversity, will assume the role of VP of people at the new American Airlines, overseeing recruitment, HR, talent development, diversity, and engagement initiatives.
“It is fitting to take a moment to give proper kudos to Andy Backover and Ryan Price who have both indicated they are more than happy to help with the transition work but ready to go take on a different challenge outside the company,” Eberwein wrote in the memo. “These are two tremendous professionals who have served American and US Airways, respectively, extremely well. I count both of them as trusted colleagues and excellent leaders. As is the case with any merger, it is unfortunate that all team leaders won't have a place in the new organization.”
On Friday, US Airways shareholders voted to approve the merger. US Airways chief executive Doug Parker will lead the combined company as CEO, while American Airlines CEO Tom Horton will serve as chairman of the board. American Airlines shareholders will own 72% of the new company.
Last month, the company appointed Eberwein to lead communications at the new American Airlines.
Backover has served as VP of corporate communications at American Airlines since 2011. He joined the company in 2006 as director of financial PR and publishing. McDonald, who previously worked at United, Trans World Airlines, and General Motors, became VP of corporate communications at US Airways in 2011.
The airlines announced the merger in February, noting that the deal would create the world's largest airline and help embattled American Airlines compete with rival carriers.