top of page

On January 8th, 2024, Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue Airways, announced his resignation from the role after approximately nine years of leadership, citing health reasons advised by his doctor. This announcement comes at a critical juncture as JetBlue anticipates a federal court's decision on its proposed merger with Spirit Airlines, a project Hayes has been a key proponent of. Joanna Geraghty, currently serving as JetBlue’s president and a veteran in the company, will succeed Hayes as CEO in February, marking her as the sole female chief executive of a major U.S. airline.

Hayes, whose career in aviation began with a job at a duty-free store at Boston’s Logan International Airport, joined JetBlue in 2008 as the chief commercial officer and ascended to the CEO position in 2015, having previously worked with British Airways. During his tenure as CEO, Hayes has been instrumental in leading JetBlue through significant challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. He played a pivotal role in launching the airline’s inaugural trans-Atlantic flights. He actively pursued the acquisition of Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion, a move aimed at bolstering JetBlue’s competitive edge in the airline industry.

However, the past few years have been challenging for JetBlue, with operational difficulties and high costs impacting its financial health, leading to the company not recording a profit since before the pandemic in 2019. The airline's stock has also declined by over 20% in the past year. The impending decision by Federal Judge William Young on the JetBlue-Spirit merger, contested by the U.S. Department of Justice and several states, could significantly impact Hayes's legacy at JetBlue. Hayes has been an advocate for the merger, arguing that it is essential for JetBlue to compete effectively with larger airlines.

JetBlue, known for its customer-friendly offerings like complimentary in-flight TV, Wi-Fi, and premium Mint seats, has faced operational issues, ranking low in The Wall Street Journal’s airline rankings for two consecutive years. The airline struggled with the broader industry challenges post-pandemic and air-traffic control complications, particularly in New York, its base location.

Geraghty, who will take over the reins, has been with JetBlue for nearly two decades and has held various roles, including overseeing the airline’s operations. Expressing enthusiasm for her new role, she emphasized her commitment to challenging the status quo and enhancing the human aspect of the airline industry, traditionally dominated by larger carriers.

Peter Boneparth, Chairman of JetBlue, commended Hayes for his leadership and contributions, particularly during a period of significant change, and for positioning JetBlue for future growth. The board unanimously agreed on Geraghty’s appointment as the next CEO following Hayes's retirement decision. Hayes is set to continue serving JetBlue in an advisory capacity.

Talley's team of tax professionals provides comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on your assets and wealth to the next generation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current options available for you. For more information, contact us today.


bottom of page