The Delta Air Lines Inc. Board of Directors has elected Richard Anderson to succeed Gerald Grinstein as the company’s CEO.

Mr. Grinstein, who will retire effective Sept. 1 after a 20-year tenure as a Delta director, gave an endorsement of Mr. Anderson that focused on his competence, competitiveness and background in the “Far East and Asia, which are among Delta’s next growth opportunities.”

Upon announcement of his appointment, Mr. Anderson quickly made it clear that he will concentrate on continued progress in the company’s multifaceted operations.

“With a solid strategy in place that provides a dynamic platform for future growth and success, I look forward to working side by side with Delta professionals to make Delta an undisputed leader in customer service, operational performance, and financial strength,” he said in a press release.

The 20-year airline industry veteran has held many corporate positions, most notably as CEO of Northwest Airlines Inc. and deputy general counsel at Continental Airlines Inc. He will become the eighth CEO in the Delta’s 78-year history and will take over the office the day Mr. Grinstein leaves.

In addition to Mr. Anderson’s appointment, Ed Bastian was elected president of the company while retaining his position as chief financial officer. He also offered an endorsement of Mr. Anderson in the statement.

Two days after Delta announced Mr. Anderson’s appointment, the airline said that it will offer non-stop service from its hub in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Paris.

The move is latest in the company’s drastic shift toward international expansion. The airline has Delta and Delta Connection flights to 328 destinations in 56 countries and has added more international capacity than all other major U.S. airlines combined since 2005, according to the statement.