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JetBlue CEO Steps Aside

May 10, 2007 By: Jennifer Merritt Travel Agent

On Thursday, the carrier announced its president, Dave Barger, would also serve as CEO of the airline effective immediately, as founder and CEO David Neeleman transitions to a full-time position as non-executive chairman of the board, a position he has held since 2002. "This is a natural evolution of our leadership structure as JetBlue continues to grow," Neeleman said in a statement. "As chairman of the board of directors, I will focus on developing JetBlue's long-term vision and strategy and how we can continue to be a preferred product in a commodity business." Since his tenure as CEO began nine years ago, Neeleman has guided the low-cost carrier through many highs and, more recently, some lows, including the Valentine's Day storm that left JetBlue passengers stranded on runways for hours, prompting the carrier to craft a passenger bill of rights, as well as the recent news that some JetBlue employees had gone on shopping sprees with customer credit cards left behind at check-in kiosks. Barger joined JetBlue in August 1998 as president and CEO and the airline took to the skies two years later. "I am honored to serve JetBlue in this capacity and I thank David for his leadership," Barger said. "I look forward to a very bright future for our crew members, our customers and our shareholders."

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