Former flight attendant named first female president of Japan Airlines

Ms Tottori said she hoped her promotion would encourage other women to pursue the next step in their careers

Japan Airlines has chosen a woman to be its next president for the first time. This is rare for a big Japanese company and a global airline.

Mitsuko Tottori started working as a flight attendant for the main airline in 1985. Then she got promoted to higher positions.

She said she wished that her promotion would inspire other women to go for the next level in their careers.

Despite getting better, very few big airlines have women in top leadership roles.

Ms Tottori will become the new president on 1 April, taking over for Yuji Akasaka. Akasaka will take over as the top boss of the airline, replacing Yoshiharu Ueki.

The appointments happen a few weeks after a Japan Airlines plane crashed into a smaller coastguard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

A “miraculous” rescue saved all 379 people on the plane, but unfortunately five out of the six crew on the coastguard plane did not survive.

Ms Tottori used to work in the front lines before she became the director for cabin crew in 2015. She said safety would be her top priority.

“I have worked in safety and customer service for most of my career, specifically as a cabinet attendant,” she said at a press conference.

“Keeping flights safe is the most important thing for airlines. ” She said she will keep showing how dedicated she is to this principle.

She also said there were women having a hard time moving forward in their job, and she hoped that her appointment could give them the confidence to take the next step.

A study on airlines found that in 2022, 12 women were in charge of the top 100 airlines, which is an increase from six the year before.

These people are Marjan Rintel from KLM, Annette Mann from Austrian Airlines and Lynne Embleton from Aer Lingus.

Earlier this month, Joanna Geraghty became the first woman to be the boss of a big airline in the United States. She was appointed as the chief executive of JetBlue Airways.

It is not common for women to be in charge of big companies in Japan.

The government wants more women to have top jobs at big companies by 2030 because they didn’t reach their goal by 2020.

It is also telling businesses to choose at least one woman as a high-up leader by 2025.

In 2021, women in Japan held the lowest number of management positions compared to other countries in the OECD, with only 13. 2%

The OECD said that the trend shows that human resources are not being used properly.


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