Delta announces CEO Anderson will retire in May

Delta CEO Richard Anderson stepping down

Richard Anderson will retire as CEO of Delta Airlines effective May 2, as part of a succession plan that has been several years in the making, the company said Wednesday.

"Under Richard's leadership, Delta has become the most profitable and best run airline that consistently delivers excellent customer service," said Dan Carp, chairman of the board. "The entire Board of Directors extends a hearty thanks for his service, his leadership and his thoughtful succession planning process."

Delta shares were slightly lower in extended-hours trading.

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Ed Bastian, now the president of the company, will ascend to CEO, according to a company statement. Anderson will remain with the company as executive chairman of the board, replacing Carp, who will also remain on the board.

As Anderson moves out of his operational role, the C suite will shuffle, with a new President International, chief operating officer and president, the company said.

The transition comes as shares of Delta have dipped more than 13.5 percent so far this year, as benefits from lower fuel costs have been offset by winter weather and virus outbreaks that have dampened consumers' travel plans.