The airline announced Mitsuko Tottori will be the next leader of the airline, effective April 1, 2024.
First Female Chief Executive Most Recently Chief Customer Officer
Tottori has spent her entire career with Japan Airlines, starting in April 1985 as a flight attendant for Japan Airlines’ predecessor, Toa Domestic Airlines. Over the last 38 years, she worked her way up to being manager, director, and then vice president of the cabin attendant and cabin safety departments. Prior to the announcement, her most recent promotion came in June 2023 when she was named senior vice president of customer experience and chief customer officer.
She will replace current president Yuji Asakaka, who will become the airline’s board chair in April. Current chair Yoshiharu Ueki will retire from the board chair position with the expected approval of the directors.
Tottori will become leader during a challenging time for the air carrier. Although the airline announced a new first class and business class experience under her leadership, it pales against questions over the safety record after a flight crashed into a Japan Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport in January 2024.
Moreover, the new president is set to become the face of diversity in a company and industry predominantly dominated by men. According to Reuters, Japan Airlines has an internal goal for women to make up 30% of all managers by 2026. Currently, the rate is around 22.8%.
“There are female employees out there who are struggling with their career steps or going through big life events,” Tottori said at a news conference as quoted by Reuters. “I hope my appointment as a president can encourage them, or give them the courage to take the next step.”
Tottori won’t be the only female airline CEO coming up in 2024. Earlier in January 2024, JetBlue announced longtime executive Joanna Geraghty would take over leadership of the airline after current chief executive Robin Hayes retires.
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Source: frugal travel guy