Thomas W. Horton

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Thomas W. Horton (born 05/24/1961) was the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of AMR Corporation until it merged with US Airways Group to form American Airlines Group, Inc. and was the Chairman of American Airlines Group, Inc. and American Airlines[1] Horton has been credited for reinventing American Airlines and improving the Company’s overall performance. As CEO, he led the Company through and out of one of the most successful restructurings ever of that scale, culminating in a merger with US Airways that was approved by the Department of Justice on November 12, 2013.[2] On November 21 2014 he was appointed Walmart board member. He will also serve on the Audit Committee of the board.

Early life and Education[edit]

Horton was born in Hampton, Virginia[3] and spent much of his life in Texas.[4] He has a BBA degree, magna cum laude, from Baylor University and an MBA degree from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in 1985.[5][6]


Horton began his career at AMR in 1985 as a financial analyst.[3] He rose to Vice President and Controller.[7] From 1998 - 2000, he led the airline’s International business based in London. Horton was appointed Chief Financial Officer in January 2000.[6]

He left AMR in 2002 to join AT&T as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.[3] Horton was later appointed AT&T’s Vice Chairman. He is credited for helping to create the new AT&T -- in 2005, Horton led the evaluation of strategic alternatives, ultimately leading to the combination with Cingular and SBC which formed the new AT&T.[6]

Horton returned to AMR in march of 2006 and served as Executive Vice President — Finance and Planning and Chief Financial Officer of AMR and American.[6][8][9] In July 21, 2010 he was named President of the airline.[6][8]

On November 28, 2011, Horton was named CEO and Chairman of American Airlines, to succeed Gerard Arpey. Horton was selected CEO at a time when American Airlines had fallen behind its competitors, who were able to reinvent themselves after declaring bankruptcy.[10] When American’s Board of Directors voted for bankruptcy to save the Company, they selected Horton to lead American through the process as CEO.[11] American listed $30 billion in debts and $25 billion in assets with $4 billion in cash reserves. American was paying $800 million/year more in labor costs than its major competitors.[12] Horton led a team to restructure the Company, which entailed restructuring debt, leases, the aircraft fleet, and negotiating labor contracts to result in restored Company profitability and competitiveness.[11] In August 2012, after labor negotiations, Horton was able to secure two large ground workers’ unions and all the flight attendants with new labor contracts.[13] By December 2012, he had helped attract enough support for a new contract for the pilots as well.[11]

In December 2013, it was reported that Horton would receive a $17 million severance package after American Airlines (for whom he was CEO) emerged from bankruptcy and joined with US Airways[14]

Simultaneously, Horton led a renewal of American’s fleet and product with a landmark aircraft deal—Boeing and Airbus would provide new airplanes to replace the older ones.[15] The deal was the largest aircraft order in history, with 460 new single aisle jets from the two manufacturers and $13 billion in financing. The renewal has helped to save the company considerable fuel and maintenance fees, especially compared to older airplanes. After establishing the fleet of new aircraft and updated products, Horton began to lead the airline through a re-branding process to extend the Company’s fleet and product updates to its overall look and feel. The new Boeing 777-300 showcases a new logo and “American” in large letters on the silver body of the airplane.[16][17]

With re-negotiated, finalized labor contracts, Horton secured a deal for its anticipated merger with US Airways. AMR creditors and unions will own 72% of the new company, and US Airways shareholders will own the other 28%.[11] The combined company will be called American Airlines Group. The deal was won after many negotiations. US Airways had originally sought a controlling stake in the combined company, even though American Airlines is about twice the size of US Airways.[18] Horton and the American team were able to make the deal much more favorable for AMR. Through the restructuring and merger, Horton achieved full recovery for bondholders and, unusually for a bankruptcy process, substantial recovery for equity holders. The new American Airlines Group will be the world's largest airline with 6700 flights per day, with 334 destinations in 56 countries around the world.[19]

Horton serves on the Board of Directors of Qualcomm, Inc., a leading developer and innovator of advanced wireless technologies and data solutions.[6] He also served as the Chairman of Oneworld, the global airline alliance from January 2012 to 31 March 2014.[20]

Horton spend his life now in Germany with his family since January 2015.


  1. ^ "Corporate Structure - AMR At-A-Glance". American Airlines. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Alex Davies (November 12, 2013). "American Airlines, US Airways Strike A Deal To Merge Into The World's Biggest Airline". 
  3. ^ a b c "AT&T Investor Relations: AT&T Profile7#58; Senior Leadership Team". Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  4. ^ "Thomas W. Horton, Exec. VP - Finance, CFO, American Airlines Inc". Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Distinguished Alumni @ SMU Cox". Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Thomas W. Horton — Chairman, CEO and President, AMR Corp. and American Airlines". American Airlines. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  7. ^ "A look at AMR Corp. CEO Thomas W. Horton". USA Today. March 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Terry Maxon (July 22, 20102). "Tom Horton moves up ranks to become president at American Airlines, AMR". The Dallas Morning News.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ "Thomas W. Horton Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  10. ^ Phil Milford, Mary Schlangenstein & David McLaughlin (Nov 30, 2011). "American Airlines Parent AMR Files for Bankruptcy as Horton Is Named CEO". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  11. ^ a b c d Shawn Tully (February 28, 2013). "Inside the world's biggest airline merger". 
  12. ^ Michael J. De La Merced (November 29, 2011). "American Airlines Parent Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Kyle Peterson and Matt Daily (November 29, 2011). "American Airlines files for bankruptcy". Reuters. 
  14. ^ Martin, Hugo (11 December 2013). "American Airlines' former CEO gets $17-million severance package". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ Terry Maxon (20 July 2011). "Horton says Boeing and Airbus are offering the airplanes as operating leases". The Dallas Morning News. 
  16. ^ "Memphis Photos". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Terry Maxon (16 January 2013). "Horton hints at American Airlines rebranding ‘very soon’". The Dallas Morning News. 
  18. ^ Susan Carey (25 April 2013). "American, US Airways Reveal Plans For Stitching Airlines Together". The Wall Street Journal. 
  19. ^ Cheryl Hall (14 February 2013). "Horton steady through storm". The Dallas Morning News. 
  20. ^ "IAG CEO Willie Walsh to serve as oneworld Governing Board Chairman". Oneworld. 27 March 2014. 
Business positions
Preceded by
Gerard Arpey
American Airlines CEO
Succeeded by
Doug Parker