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Thomas W. Horton was born in Hampton, Virginia on May 24, 1961, and spent most of his life in Texas. 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.
Norton began his career at AMR Corporation in 1985 as financial analyst and rose to Vice President and Controller. From 1998 to 2000 he led the airline’s international business based in London where he was appointed as Chief Financial Officer in January 2000. He left AMR Corporation in 2002 to join AT & T as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and was later appointed as Vice Chairman. IN 2005, Horton led the evaluation of strategic alternatives, ultimately leading to the combination with Cingular and SBC which formed the new AT & T. This accomplishment earned him credit. In March of 2006, Horton returned to AMR and served as Executive Vice President for Finance and Planning and Chief, Financial Officer. IN 2008, he was named US top CFO by Institutional Investor magazine
On November 28, 2011, Horton was named CEO and Chairman of American Airlines, to succeed Gerard Arpey. He was selected as CEO at the time when American Airlines had fallen behind its competitors, and who were able to reinvent themselves after declaring bankruptcy. When American’s board of directors voted restructuring to save the company, they selected Horton to lead American through the process as CEO. American listed $30 billion in debts and $25 billion in assets with 4$ billion in cash reserves. American was paying $800 million per year more in labour costs than its major competitors. Horton led a team to restructure the company, which involved restructuring debt, leases, the aircraft fleet and negotiating labour contracts restoring the Company’s profitability and competitiveness. In August 2012, after negotiations, Horton was able to secure two large ground workers’ unions and all the flight attendants with new labour contracts. In December 2012, he had gained enough support for a new contract for pilots, as well.
Instantaneously, Horton led a renewal of American’s fleet and product with a landmark aircraft deal, with Boeing and Airbus to provide new air planes to replace the older ones. 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 had helped save the company considerable fuel and maintenance fees, especially compared to older air planes. After the establishment of 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 impression including improved charter plane flights. The new look showcases a new logo and “American” in large letters on the silver body of the plane.
With re-negotiated, finalised labour contracts, Horton secured a deal for its anticipated merger with US Airways. AMR creditors and unions will own 72% of the company, and US Airways shareholders will own the other 28%.Through the restructuring and merger, Horton achieved full recovery for bondholders and, unusually for a bankruptcy process, substantial recovery for equity holders.The new Airlines Group is the world’s largest airline with 6700 charter plane flights per day, with 334 destinations in 56 countries around the world.