FORT WORTH, Texas, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Will Ris, senior vice president – Government Affairs for American Airlines, has announced he intends to retire at the end of this year after nearly 20 years with the airline.
"Will's impact on American Airlines has been immeasurable," said American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. "He has been the voice of American and its people in Washington, D.C., for nearly 20 years. He has represented us extraordinarily well because he understands commercial aviation and cares about the professional people who work in the business. We are extremely disappointed to know that Will has decided to retire, but he most certainly has earned it. We wish him and Nancy only the best.
"Representative of his dedication to American and its people, Will has agreed to stay with American until year-end to continue to lead some important ongoing initiatives and help us develop a transition plan. We are very grateful for that commitment. Will Ris embodies all of the things that are great about American Airlines and thanks to people like him, American Airlines will be great for years to come."
"It has been a genuine honor to serve the men and women of American Airlines over the course of my career," Ris said. "I marvel at the fact that each and every day these incredible individuals make it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to travel safely across oceans and continents, enriching lives and making our world more connected. Together, the current employees and those who worked tirelessly before them have built a platform for the future that is stronger than I have ever seen in my career.
"Looking back, it has also been a delight to work with so many capable and passionate government officials and policy makers over the years. These individuals have had a huge impact on our industry and will continue to shape the future of aviation.
"And finally, I am especially grateful to Doug Parker and the leaders at American who have such a powerful vision for the future and who will continue to navigate the path forward for American. I am incredibly privileged to have participated in American's amazing story."
An attorney with broad experience in government and transportation, Ris has been American's principal Government Affairs executive since July 1996. He is responsible for directing all activities on behalf of American with Congress, the administration and a broad range of federal agencies. In 2001, he led the effort to protect the domestic aviation industry, assure the continued viability of passenger service and establish new security measures. More recently, he helped lead the effort to gain public and political support for the merger between American and US Airways, which created a strong, competitive airline with more than 100,000 employees worldwide.
Prior to joining American in 1996, Ris was executive vice president for the Wexler Group, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm, where he represented American as outside counsel for 13 years. He also served as a trial attorney for the United States Civil Aeronautics Board and was appointed counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and its Aviation Subcommittee. In 1978, he was the principal Senate legal counsel for the drafting of the airline deregulation legislation.
Well-respected in Washington, D.C., and known for his commitment to community service, Ris serves as chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Green Door, Inc., a nationally recognized organization that provides services for chronically mentally ill persons. He is also a member of the board of governors of Ford's Theater in Washington, the board of directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the board of trustees for the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington.
Ris will remain active with American through Dec. 31, 2015, and will continue to lead the airline's efforts on several key initiatives, including FAA reauthorization and the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. American will use the period until year-end to develop a transition plan and long-term strategy for its Government Affairs department.
About American Airlines
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines and US Airways. Together with regional partners, operating as American Eagle and US Airways Express, the airlines operate an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. This year American topped Fortune Magazine's list of best business turnarounds and its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.