Delta wants to keep CEO, board chairman jobs separate

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc.'s chief executive officer and board chairman jobs are held by different people, and it wants to keep it that way when the nation's third-largest carrier emerges from bankruptcy.

The Atlanta-based company's official committee of unsecured creditors asked for court permission Tuesday to pay a search firm to help recruit a non-executive chairperson for the board of the reorganized Delta.

SSI Inc. is a consultant to the committee and is helping it identify, interview and assess proposed candidates for the new board. Delta's existing directors also are being considered.

Delta's current chief executive, Gerald Grinstein, is a member of Delta's board, but the chairman of the board is John F. Smith Jr., who is not employed as a Delta executive. Many major corporations give the CEO and board chair jobs to one person, though some in recent years have opted to separate the positions.

Grinstein has said he plans to step down as CEO when Delta emerges from Chapter 11, which it could do as early as next month. A confirmation hearing on Delta's reorganization plan is scheduled for April 25 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. - From wire reports