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American Airlines loses key senior IT executives

Reorganisation begins at the top says AMR chief

American Airlines has announced the elimination of two senior technology positions, following a restructuring at its bankrupt parent company AMR Corp.

Susan Garcia, the airline's vice president of information technology and Andrew Watson, the company's vice-president of customer technology, announced their retirement this week after more than a decade at the company.

Garcia held the role of information technology VP for 10 years, and has spent nearly 25 years at American Airlines in total in roles including managing director of IT, senior manager at British Airways Alliance and manager of international strategic alliances.

According to her LinkedIn profile, she negotiated the strategic alliance between American Airlines and British Airways, and closed the agreement to create the oneworld alliance.

As VP of IT at American Airlines, Garcia managed a team of more than 300 IT professionals delivering technology solutions for business functions, from flight operations to HR and corporate finance. She also launched a $300 million programme to replace the 50-year-old technology that ran the airline operations.

Maya Leibman, American Airline's CIO, said: "[Garcia] has eagerly taken on the challenges of big, complex technology endeavours, including the very successful Y2K project, as well as the modernisation of countless legacy systems.

"I will personally miss her candour, her strong ability to mentor and motivate, and her overall leadership in the technology organisation."

Watson, meanwhile, in his role as VP of customer technology, led projects such as the introduction of self-service machines and the development of the airline's Apple iPhone app.

Other senior roles that have been cut include VP of operations finance and strategy planning, which was filled by Doug Herring. He will now be working on 'special projects' until the end of the year.

AMR said that its restructuring "is part of the company's commitment to reduce total costs".

Tom Horton, AMR chairman and CEO, said: "Our organisation redesign purposefully began at the top."

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