Bastian wrote in the memo to employees that Jacobson “played a crucial role in Delta’s bankruptcy process and the strategy that led Delta to regain our investment-grade balance sheet while also investing billions in our people, product and service.”
“Paul has a gift for sharing financial messages that are clear, actionable and easily comprehended,” Bastian wrote.
Jacobson helped establish the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building at Auburn, and after a colleague had a heart attack at work he had defibrillators and AEDs added at Delta.
There may not have been a clear path for Jacobson to the top position at the company any time soon.
Bastian, 62, recently said he's "at a season where I'm at my peak. I'm never going to do another job in my life. This is it. And I'm having a blast with it." He was president before being named CEO of the company in 2016.
Delta’s current president Glen Hauenstein was promoted to the role in 2016 from the position of chief revenue officer, and is an aviation veteran who has worked for Delta since 2005. President is seen as the second-most-important position at the company, and Hauenstein is seen as a potential successor to Bastian.