10 Things You Didn’t Know About American Airlines CEO Doug Parker

Doug Parker was born as William Douglas Parker and he grew up in Michigan. He is a businessman who currently holds the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines Group. He has worked in the aeronautical business since graduating in 1986. Although this man is very well known in aeronautical and business circles, there are many things that people do not know about this businessman. Here are ten interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Doug Parker.

1. He Studied Economics and Management

Doug Parker has studied both economics and management. He first attended Albion College and graduated in 1984 with a BA in economics. He then studied at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He graduated from this educational establishment in 1986 with an MBA.

2. He Won’t Discuss His Personal Travel Arrangements

As the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of an airline, the most common questions that Doug Parker is asked during interviews relate to his travel arrangements and what he thinks of the flying experiences of his own planes. However, he seems very reluctant to answer these questions. When his airline got a new fleet of planes, he was forced to admit he hadn’t flown in them after initially evading the questions. When he is asked if has traveled in the economy section, he won’t even answer the question. His team has been briefed to tell interviewers that Parker is unwilling to discuss his travel arrangements to that level.

3. He Made $11.3 Million in 2017

The official figure that Doug Parker earned in 2017 is $11.3 million. This is despite the company struggling first with non-fuel costs and then with rising fuel costs. He has been forced to defend his salary on many occasions. He has already earned more than this in the first half of 2018 as the stock awards he was granted in 2008 expired in 2018 and he has received payouts from restricted awards.

4. He is Trying to End Bad Labor Relations

American Airlines has been plagued by bad labor relations for decades and this is something that Doug Parker is working on bringing to an end. In 2017, he gave flight attendants and pilots a mid-contract raise and introduced a profit-sharing scheme.

5. He is Married to a Former Flight Attendant

Doug Parker is married to Gwen Parker. His wife is a former flight attendant who he met through his work in the airline industry. However, the couple never officially worked together. They now have three children and the family lives in Dallas, Texas.

6. He Has Been in Trouble with the Law

Unfortunately, Doug Parker has been on the wrong side of the law on several occasion. He was charged with his third driving under the influence (DUI) offense in 2007 and was sentenced to one day in jail.

7. He Has Won Two Awards

For his qualities as a businessman, Doug Parker has won two awards. The first of these was in 2015 when he was the southwest region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He then won the Tony Jannus Award in 2017. This was for his distinguished achievement in commercial air transportation.

8. He Didn’t Enjoy the Merger Between US Airways and American Airlines

In 2013, American Airlines and US Airways merged. This was not an experience that Doug Parker enjoyed. He has said in interviews that it wasn’t a fun time in his life and has described this time in his career as a grind.

9. He Tries to Focus on Employee Communication

As a leader, one of Parker’s main focuses is employee communication. Not only does he try to communicate effectively with employees at all levels, he also encourages all members of the company to improve lines of communication.

10. His Wife is Responsible for His Understanding of the Workforce

Although his wife has no formal role in the company, Doug Parker’s decisions regarding his workforce have been guided by his wife. As Gwen Parker is a former flight attendant, she has a clear understanding of the struggle that airline workers face in their roles. She has used her experience to advise him on these matters and to help him make positive changes in the company. She has described her husband’s responsibilities as an uphill battle.


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