Delta chief financial officer Paul Jacobson to leave company

Credit: Chris Rank,Rank Studios

Credit: Chris Rank,Rank Studios

Delta Air Lines Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson is stepping down.

The Atlanta-based company announced Friday that Jacobson is retiring. Jacobson is 48 years old, according to the company's annual report this month, making him the youngest of the company's executive officers. Delta did not give a reason immediately for his departure.

Jacobson has been CFO since 2012, and will stay at Delta while a successor is chosen and transitioned into the role. The process will take several months and Jacobson is expected to leave the company later this year.

He attended Auburn University and joined Delta after earning a master’s of business administration from Vanderbilt University in 1997 and worked his way up in the treasury team, according to a memo from Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

“While he will be deeply missed, I respect Paul’s decision, after more than two decades of service to Delta, to move on to the next chapter in his career,” Bastian wrote.

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.