Virgin Atlantic to name American exec Kreeger as CEO-source

LONDON Tue Jan 8, 2013 3:44am EST

LONDON Jan 8 (Reuters) - British airline Virgin Atlantic will name American Airlines executive Craig Kreeger as its new chief executive later on Tuesday, a source close to the carrier said.

Kreeger, a senior vice president at American's customer business, will replace Steve Ridgway, who has led Virgin Atlantic for 11 years.

One of Kreeger's main tasks will be to help kick start Virgin's partnership, announced last month, with U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines.

Delta agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in the British airline founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson from Singapore Airlines, creating a joint venture that would expand Delta's access to London's Heathrow Airport and increase competition in the lucrative transatlantic market.

Ridgway, a friend of Branson's who joined the airline in 1989 and who has been CEO since 2001, is due to retire from the firm this spring.

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