Delta Air Lines' chief operating officer announced his immediate resignation late Wednesday, stating he would pursue other interests. Sources, however, detail a more complicated scenario. Outgoing CEO Jerry Grinstein in the past has said his wish was for Whitehurst or current Delta CFO Ed Bastion to succeed him when he retires September 1. Through Bastion was recently promoted to president, last week the airline's board named former Northwest Airlines President Richard Anderson as Grinstein's successor. Anderson currently serves on Delta's board.
"While we hoped Jim would stay, we respect his decision to move on in pursuit of other challenges," Grinstein said in a statement. A spokesperson for Delta said the airline would likely announce a reorganization of the executive staff to fill Whitehurst's post in one week.