Jim Whitehurst

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Jim Whitehurst (born 1966/1967 (age 48–49)[1]) is the Chief Executive Officer at Red Hat. Prior to that, he was a Chief Operating Officer of Delta Air Lines. Whitehurst was tapped by former Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein to lead the airline out of bankruptcy and played a critical role in Delta's battle for survival against the hostile takeover attempt by US Airways in 2006.

Whitehurst became a very popular figure during the campaign to Keep Delta My Delta because of his transparent honesty and genuine affection for the company and its heritage. Some have speculated that his fierce defense of Delta worked against him as Delta's Board sought a successor to CEO Grinstein in 2007. Before his appointment as COO of Delta, Whitehurst served as Senior Vice President and Chief Network and Planning Officer for the company.

Prior to joining Delta in 2002, he served as Vice President and Director of The Boston Consulting Group and held various management roles at its Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Atlanta offices.

In 2013, the Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, appointed Whitehurst as a member and vice-chairman of the North Carolina Economic Development Board.[2][3]

In 2014, Whitehurst was selected as the recipient of the NC State Park Scholarships program's William C. Friday Award.

Education and family[edit]

A native of Columbus, Georgia, Whitehurst graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas, with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Economics. He also attended Erlangen Nuremberg University in Erlangen, Germany, holds a general course degree from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jim Whitehurst is married and has two children named Jack and Emma.

Red Hat[edit]

Being an open source company, Red Hat has a different culture from other traditional businesses. Whitehurst has admitted that he started to work at Red Hat similar to his start at Delta. However, some of his instructions were followed while others were not by senior co-ordinators. Whitehurst has said he understood later on that he was the one who needed to change in this unorthodox business. Red Hat's stocks have moved up three fold since the start of 2009.


Jim Whitehurst has written his first book The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance.[4] It was published by Harvard Business Review on 2 June 2015.[5]


External links[edit]