Executive Changes and Departures

11 May 2007

Jet Blue announced yesterday that CEO David Neeleman will be replaced by current President Dave Barger.  Neeleman will remain Chairman of the Board.

JetBlue stock was up 4.7% on the news

Executive changes and departures are like death and taxes.  They are somewhat inevitable.

Unexpected executive changes or departures make for interesting times in IR land. When such announcements are made calls flood into the IR department looking for the dirt behind the changes.  Regardless of whether there is a fascinating story behind the change or not the investment community is almost always able to conjure up some sort of juicy soap opera script.

So what is an IR department to do?

In short, it must execute on a well defined communications plan.

If the executive change was expected, then prove it, and get the word out quickly. If the change was not expected, then be upfront, be credible, and be ready to explain how the company won’t crumble during a reasonable transition period….and do it quickly….after all, millions of dollars of market capitalization are at stake.

2 Responses to “Executive Changes and Departures”

  1. Boyd Neil

    I wonder if the change has anything to do with JetBlue’s problems at the begining of the year? Perhaps Mr. Neeleman got tired of the day-to-day hassles of CEO. And . . . why not add my URL to your blog roll?

    Cheers,

  2. Anil Dilawri

    Hi Boyd – I think the executive change had everything to do with JetBlue’s problems earlier in the year.  The market appears to like the change, hence the appreciation in stock price on the news……On the blog roll front, I have added you….now I look very forward to you adding my blog to your blog roll!!!

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