Delta hires new chief operating officer

Former Six Flags and PepsiCo executive joins Atlanta-based airline’s C-suite
Mike Spanos has been named Chief Operating Officer of Delta Air Lines. Source: Delta

Credit: Source: Delta

Credit: Source: Delta

Mike Spanos has been named Chief Operating Officer of Delta Air Lines. Source: Delta

Delta Air Lines has hired a new chief operating officer, Mike Spanos, who is a former CEO of Six Flags Entertainment and was a longtime executive at Pepsi.

Atlanta-based Delta said Spanos will join the airline June 12. Though Spanos’ background is outside of the airline industry, he has experience in frontline leadership, strategy, operations and a global perspective, according to the airline.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Spanos will bring experience to accelerate integration across operational, customer experience and technology teams.

Spanos was CEO of Texas-based Six Flags from 2019 until he stepped down from he role in 2021. Delta said Spanos guided Six Flags “through the pandemic and a digital- and customer-focused transformation.”

Before Six Flags, Spanos had worked for 25 years at PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Group, including as chief customer officer of Pepsi Beverages North America and roles leading PepsiCo international sectors.

Before Bastian joined Delta in 1998, he had been a vice president at Pepsi.

At Delta, Spanos will report directly to Bastian. Delta’s Chief of Operations John Laughter and Allison Ausband, the airline’s chief customer experience officer, will report to Spanos.

Delta’s former chief operating officer, Gil West, left Delta in 2020 and in 2021 was named chief operating officer of General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit. West was at Delta for about 12 years and joined the airline from bus company Laidlaw Transit Services, where he was CEO.

After West’s departure, Delta continued to work toward a recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The airline and its customers have faced staffing issues, bouts of mass cancellations and flight disruptions. Delta is continuing to work to improve its operations this year.

In March, Delta and its regional carriers had the best on-time arrival rate in the U.S. airline industry at 79.2%, but also had the highest rate of flight cancellations at 1.7%, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data released Tuesday.