American Airlines taps insider Devon May as CFO

American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) said on Tuesday long-time finance chief Derek Kerr will step down from the role and be replaced by company veteran Devon May, at a time when the carrier faces the task of fixing its debt-laden balance sheet.

Kerr, who previously served as the CFO of America West and US Airways, will remain the vice chairman and strategic adviser at American Airlines and also the president of regional airline American Eagle.

May, who joined America West in 2002, is currently American Airlines’ senior vice president of finance and investor relations and will begin his new role on Jan. 1.

The transition comes at a time when U.S. carriers face cost pressures from high jet fuel prices and bumper contracts for workers, though booming travel demand has given them strong pricing power.

The industry also continues to face adverse weather conditions, which have impacted flight schedules over the year.

Debt reduction remained a “top priority”, American Airlines had said in September, adding that the company is on track to reduce total debt levels by $15 billion by the end of 2025.

“Given we are back to profitability and well on our way to reducing our debt levels, it’s the ideal time to make this transition,” Kerr said on Tuesday.