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JetBlue Picks a New Finance Chief to Guide COVID Comeback

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Ursula Hurley

Ursula Hurley. Image credit: JetBlue, Business Wire

Ursula Hurley has been promoted for the second time this year, this time it’s to the c-suite. JetBlue has named the 17-year company veteran as its new Chief Financial Officer, just a month after she was upped to Head of Treasury and Investor Relations.

She succeeds Steve Priest, who departs on June 11 to be eBay's new CFO, and will take on the airline’s top finance spot in addition to her current duties on June 12.

Hurley has worked directly with Priest over the past three years and helped lead the evolution of the company’s fleet, structural cost program, and strategic sourcing initiatives. In a press release, CEO Robin Hayes added, “Her work helped position JetBlue with one of the industry’s strongest balance sheets going into the pandemic. Over the past year, she successfully led our efforts to preserve our liquidity position, and is the perfect leader to support this transition as we begin to repair our balance sheet and return on a path towards industry-leading margins.”

Just last month Hurley added investor relations to her responsibilities when she was promoted to Head of Treasury and Investor Relations and became the newest member of the airline’s senior leadership team. She also serves as the President of the JetBlue Foundation.

JetBlue has had a rough past year, and it in the first-quarter of 2021 the airline posted it fifth consecutive quarterly loss due to coronavirus-induced weakness in air-travel demand. In the first three months of 2021 the company’s operating revenues plunged 53.8% year-over-year to $733 million. Much of this decline was spurred by a large drop in passenger revenues, which accounted for over 91% of JetBlue’s top line.

“I could not be prouder of our finance team and, in fact, of all our crewmembers who accomplished so much over this unprecedented year and, prior to that, pulled together to deliver a cost-conscious culture while maintaining our strong and trusted brand,” Priest said. “Ursula has been central to these efforts, and I am confident in her ability to support JetBlue as the airline emerges from the pandemic and regains momentum.”

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