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Best Airline CEO?  
User currently offlineN777UA From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3712 times:

We have the post on the worst airline CEO, but what about the best?

I'm not involved with nor interested in airline management, but I think some of the best are:

Gerry Greenwald, CEO United Airlines.....he guided United through the 1990s, the best years for the airline, when stock was above $100 and United was the largest and most powerful airline on Earth.

Herb Kelleher, CEO Southwest......he pioneered the low-cost model for airlines, which has worked up and down for Southwest for 30+ years.

Glenn Tilton, CEO United Airlines......he has done what most thought impossible; he saved United Airlines from liquidation and has it on the road towards recovery. The changes he has implemented to what was once the most inefficient US network carrier have been huge and wide-ranging. Because of his leadership, United is slowly returning to it's former self.

Glenn Zander, CEO Aloha Airlines......turned Aloha from a small, inter-island carrier still reeling from the flight 243 accident to Hawaii's best airline and has established a niche market of serving Pacific Island nations as well as the US Mainland and Canada, with awesome service. Through being fiscally responsible, he has helped Aloha avoid bankruptcy, while Hawaiian has filed a second time.

Bill Compton, CEO TWA.....somehow kept TWA aloft through it's final years despite the Icahn agreement and kept employees together. Though TWA ended up going under, without Compton the end would have been a lot sooner.

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAirdude66 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 187 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

Lewis Jordan - CEO Valujet

Built a profitable airline from nothing while the stock split twice and cashed out huge. Grass roots kind of guy that never forgot the people who related well to the people who made him money.

He took on delta in their back yard and won!

User currently offlineMotorhussy From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 3890 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3681 times:

Well certainly not Rod Eddington (BA). Look what happened to Ansett after he jumped, knowing full well what was really going on.


come visit the south pacific
User currently offlineKjet12 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 976 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3671 times:

Gordon Bethune, CEO Continental

Turned around a failing company that was the laughing stock of the airline industry into a world leading, money making comapny. For those interested, read From Worst to First by Bethune. It is a great book on the saga of Coninental's amazing change!


AA - Doing what we do best.
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3584 times:


Enough said! FROM WORST TO FIRST!!!

User currently offlineYhz78 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 147 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3571 times:

Clive Beddoe, Westjet
He is running an airline that is growing making money and thriving in all bases. The fact that when he flies he helps the crew clean the cabin after arrival should say enough. Although I am sure there are a lot of union people out there who think otherwise.

Canada Rocks! From the west coast to the best coast!
User currently offlineCAL From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 499 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3566 times:

I totally agree has to be "GORDO" the CO people know what i mean.

CAL........Continental Airlines....... Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineCospn From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Oct 2001, 1928 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3547 times:

G. Bethune

Going to Miss him Next year, I hope things don't change after he goes..

User currently offlineVatveng From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1172 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

Thanks to Joe Leonard, few people in the flying public even remember the name ValuJet... and this is a good thing.

User currently offlineWGW2707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1197 posts, RR: 31
Reply 9, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3422 times:

1. Pat Patterson - Lead United Air Lines from the 1930s to the 1960s, and built it into a profitable, extremely successful operation. Not only that, but Pat Patterson's United had class, distinction and refinement, and was a cut above most airlines in terms of service and comfort. Pat Patterson was a man of extreme ethics. He refused to pack passengers in like Sardine, and wouldn't order the 707 with the initial narrow fuselage as it would have been too cramped in a 3+3 configuration-then he turned around and configured his DC-8 fleet in 2+3. Not wanting his stewardesses to be thought of as barmaids, he provided free alcoholic beverages but set a limit of two per passenger. United under his leadership became the largest airline in America following the takeover of Capital in 1961, was responsible for enormous increases in Hawaiian tourism, and made many other contributions to the United States and to the economy. The Friendly Skies were perhaps never as friendly as under Patterson, a CEO who cared about his employees AND his customers, had impeccable moral standards and who also happened to be darn good at what he did.

2. Bob Six - Dashing and flamboyant CEO of Continental, who took on the major airlines with a much smaller fleet of aircraft and won, while at the same time setting new standards in terms of service. He ran a tight ship, treated his employees well, and turned CO from a tiny regional airline into one of the largest airlines in the United States. He was even responsible for the name of the airline, Continental, as when he initially took charge it was known as Varney Speed Lines, Southern Division (good thing he changed it - imagine flying on a Varney Speed Lines Southern Division 777 from Newark to Europe).

3. Robert Crandall - Though his morals weren't on a level with those of Pat Patterson, he was undeniably one of the most successful, and perhaps one of the most ruthless airline CEOs in history. One thing is for sure, without Crandall, AA would not be where it is today. I'll bet the executives at TWA never stopped kicking themselves for passing him up on a promotion.


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