JetBlue announced yesterday that Russ Chew is leaving the airline after a little over two years as its COO (and less than two as its president). Chew joined the airline in March 2007, when it really needed someone with Chew's experience and expertise to add credibility to its efforts to improve its operations. At the time, the airline was working to recover its service reputation after a Valentine's Day, ice storm-related operational meltdown at its Kennedy hub. Chew had been COO of the FAA for four years, and spent 17 years in American's operations and planning units before that.
Chew's departure comes the year after he received $130,000 from JetBlue for moving expenses, and less than 16 months after he signed a new, four-year employment agreement, so you can't help but wonder about the circumstances. A JetBlue spokesman, however, said Chew is leaving of his own volition. He'll retain a role as senior adviser, but without any specific projects.
People can leave jobs for all sorts of reasons of course, professional or personal, and we're not always (in fact, usually not) entitled to know. But I'm guessing the question might come up during JetBlue's conference call on its first quarter earnings April 23.