JetBlue CEO David Neeleman Steps Down

Will Remain Non-executive Chairman

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- JetBlue's high-profile, high-energy founder, David Neeleman, is leaving his post as CEO, but will remain as non-executive chairman of the board. He will be succeeded as CEO by David Barger, president and chief operating officer.
David Neeleman
David Neeleman Credit: JetBlue

In a statement, Mr. Neeleman said the changes are a "natural evolution of our leadership structure as JetBlue continues to grow." He said he would focus on the company's "long-term vision and strategy" as a "preferred product in a commodity business."

Ice storm
JetBlue has recovered from its earlier PR nightmare this winter when 10 planes were stranded for six hours or more on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy Airport during an ice storm while food ran out, toilets ran over and passengers received inadequate explanations.

Mr. Neeleman took responsibility and moved to mend the company's image, posting a video on YouTube and issuing a customer "bill of rights." The cancellations and make-goods, however, carried a $41 million price tag, which led to a $22 million first-quarter loss.
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