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Bastian of Delta Air Lines Named CEO of the Year

‘Chief Executive’ magazine honors Bastian for leading the airline through a period of ‘unprecedented upheaval’

By Todd R. Berger

Delta Air Lines’ Ed Bastian is CEO of the year. CREDIT Deltanet Photos

“Chief Executive” magazine announced that Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, has been named the 2023 Chief Executive of the Year by his peer CEOs.

Bastian was selected by an independent committee for his work leading the remarkable transformation of one of America’s most critical companies during an era of unprecedented crisis and volatility in his industry.

“Ed Bastian is a true exemplar of what it means to be a visionary, resilient, purpose-driven leader,” says Ken Frazier, former chair and CEO of Merck and the 2021 CEO of the year, who served on this year’s selection committee. “Nearly all companies were required to make adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding that Delta Air Lines and its people needed to play a pivotal role at the very forefront of this global crisis, Ed confidently guided his organization through a period of unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty to deliver essential services for the benefit of us all.”

A 25-year Delta veteran, Bastian is credited with transforming the company through generational investments in technology, aircraft, and airport facilities. He has served as a Delta leader and steered the company and its 90,000 employees worldwide through the most challenging periods of its history, including 9/11, bankruptcy, and COVID-19.

Since being named Delta’s CEO in May 2016, the company has become the world’s most awarded airline, having been named the “Wall Street Journal” top U.S. airline, the top-ranking airline in “Fortune” magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies, the most on-time global airline by FlightGlobal, the Platinum Award recipient for operational excellence by Cirium, among TIME100’s Most Influential Companies, a Glassdoor Best Place to Work, and more.

“I’m humbled by this incredible recognition and graciously accept on behalf of Delta’s global team of 90,000 worldwide,” says Bastian. “The resilience and strength they demonstrated through the most challenging time in our company’s history is nothing short of remarkable. Our people continue to set Delta apart, and it’s the greatest honor of my life to serve them.”

Bastian’s selection as 2023 CEO of the Year is scheduled to be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by Chief Executive Group, the parent company of “Chief Executive,” this fall.