Thomas W. Horton

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Thomas W. Horton (born May 24, 1961) is the Lead Director of General Electric's board of directors.[1]

He 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.[2] He also served as Chairman of oneworld, the global airline alliance, until March 2014.

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.[3] On November 21, 2014, he was appointed to the board of Walmart. He also serves on the board of Qualcomm Inc., currently as presiding director. In 2015, he joined Warburg Pincus as senior advisor.

Early life and education[edit]

Horton was born in Hampton, Virginia[4] and spent much of his life in Texas.[5] 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.[6][7]


Horton began his career at AMR in 1985 as a financial analyst.[4] From 1998 to 2000, he led the airline's International business based in London. Horton was appointed Chief Financial Officer in January 2000.[7]

He left AMR in 2002 to join AT&T as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.[4] 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.[7]

Horton returned to AMR in March 2006 and served as Executive Vice President — Finance and Planning and Chief Financial Officer of AMR and American.[7][8][9] In 2008, he was named US top CFO by Institutional Investor magazine. In July 21, 2010, he was named President of the airline.[7][8]

On November 28, 2011, Horton was named CEO and Chairman of American Airlines, at a time when it had fallen behind its competitors, who were able to reinvent themselves after declaring bankruptcy.[10] When American's Board voted to restructure, they selected Horton to lead American through the process as CEO.[11] He 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]

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.[12] The deal was the largest aircraft order in history, with 460 new single aisle jets from the two manufacturers and $13 billion in financing. Horton's team 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 look showcases a new logo and flag on the tail with "American" in large letters on the silver body of the airplane.[13][14]

With renewed labor contracts, Horton secured a deal for its anticipated merger with US Airways in which AMR creditors and unions own 72% of the new company, and US Airways shareholders own the other 28%.[11] The combined company is called American Airlines Group. US Airways had originally sought a controlling stake in the combined company, though American Airlines was about twice the size of US Airways.[15] 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 is the world's largest airline with 6700 flights per day, with 334 destinations in 56 countries around the world.[16]


  1. ^ "Press Release - H. LAWRENCE CULP, JR. NAMED CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GE". General Electric. October 1, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Corporate Structure – AMR At-A-Glance". American Airlines. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Alex Davies (November 12, 2013). "American Airlines, US Airways Strike A Deal To Merge Into The World's Biggest Airline".
  4. ^ a b c "AT&T Investor Relations: AT&T Profile7#58; Senior Leadership Team". Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  5. ^ "Thomas W. Horton, Exec. VP – Finance, CFO, American Airlines Inc". Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  6. ^ "Distinguished Alumni @ SMU Cox". Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Thomas W. Horton — Chairman, CEO and President, AMR Corp. and American Airlines". American Airlines. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  8. ^ a b Terry Maxon (July 22, 2010). "Tom Horton moves up ranks to become president at American Airlines, AMR". The Dallas Morning News.
  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 Shawn Tully (February 28, 2013). "Inside the world's biggest airline merger". Archived from the original on May 7, 2013.
  12. ^ Terry Maxon (20 July 2011). "Horton says Boeing and Airbus are offering the airplanes as operating leases". The Dallas Morning News.
  13. ^ "Memphis Photos". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  14. ^ Terry Maxon (16 January 2013). "Horton hints at American Airlines rebranding 'very soon'". The Dallas Morning News.
  15. ^ Susan Carey (25 April 2013). "American, US Airways Reveal Plans For Stitching Airlines Together". The Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ Cheryl Hall (14 February 2013). "Horton steady through storm". The Dallas Morning News.
Business positions
Preceded by
Gerard Arpey
President of American Airlines
2010 – 2013
Succeeded by
J. Scott Kirby
Preceded by
Gerard Arpey
Chairman and CEO of American Airlines
2011 – 2013
Succeeded by
Doug Parker