Gibson Dunn takes lead role at Delta after in-house exits

Delta Air Lines has drafted in Gibson Dunn & Crutcher labour partner Scott Kruse to advise the embattled US airline’s management following the retirement of two of the company’s top in-house lawyers.

Kruse’s role as outside counsel to the ailing airline has been expanded after Delta’s general counsel and head of its public affairs function Greg Riggs announced his retirement after 26 years at Delta.

His retirement follows that of Walter Brill, one of the company’s two deputy general counsel, last week. Brill will continue advising Delta as an external counsel.

Griggs is understood to be leaving to join Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird as senior counsel, although he is expected to continue to provide legal counsel to the airline over the next few months as the company searches for a replacement.

Delta chief execuitve Gerald Grinstein said he hoped to pick a successor to Griggs from within Delta’s ranks, although the company is yet to give any indication of who this may be.

In the meantime, Delta has asked Kruse to “broaden his role as outside counsel” to include serving as senior legal counsel to Delta’s management and board of directors.

Kruse has an existing relationship with the company after acting as Delta’s chief negotiator in its six-month pilot pay cut dispute last year. At the time he managed to negotiate a new pilot union contract saving Delta US$1bn each year and avoiding filing for bankruptcy.