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Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:43 am

Juan Trippe? Frank Lorenzo? Robert Crandall? Stephen Wolf? Sir Collin Marshall? Who are the greatest CEOs in the Airline Industry and why? Cheers!
The fastest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to start as a billionaire.
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RE: Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Wed Sep 08, 1999 1:30 am

Juan Trippe - certainly ranks among the greatest ever, although buying so many 747s certainly contributed to its eventual downfall. It's not widely known that when the 747s were being proposed initially, JTT suggested that after they had retired from passenger service, they could be converted to freighters. How's that for vision!!
Frank Lorenzo - give us a break! The man's legacy to aviation is such that he's not even allowed to be involved in the running of an airline!! However, Gordon Behune should be credited with rescuing CO from disaster - and he certainly deserves a place in the list. Likewise Lord King, who turned BA around - moreso than Colin Marshall.
JY Pillay - Chairman of SIA for many years. Many doubted whether an airline of a tiny country could succeed, let alone flourish. What SIA is today and its unbelievable success is a credit to his leadership for so many years.
Bob Crandall - certainly a worthy nominee for the title of "greatest ever". His innovations have had a huge impact on the industry we have today.
Other notables include those who turned around failing or even just underperforming airlines. Jurgen Weber of Lufthansa, Jan Carlzon of SAS (a leader in customer service - even wrote a book on it), James Strong of Qantas, John Dasburg of NWA and Sen. Irala of Iberia. And, for goodness sake, how can we leave out the great Herb Kelleher!!
(Sorry about the length, but you asked for it!)
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RE: Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Wed Sep 08, 1999 3:12 am

Richard Branson (founder and CEO of Virgin Imperium and Virgin Atlantic, British) and Rolim Adolfo Amaro (founder and CEO of Grupo TAM, Brazilian): what VS and KK/JJ - two leading airlines in passenger services quality and internal management - are today is deserved to these two men and their vanguard perspectives since the creation of these airlines.


TP343, São Paulo, Brazil.

Richard Branson

Wed Sep 08, 1999 9:36 am

1st of all he is not the CEO of Virgin Atlantic and 2nd he is not the founder Mr. feilds is and Richard kept taking more. He is a very greedy man!!!!!!! Richard Branson really is not who people think he is.
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
BA all the way Virgin go away
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RE: Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Wed Sep 08, 1999 1:04 pm

I have to agree 100% with TP343.

Branson and Rolim are two best CEOs in office today.

FMAL, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Wed Sep 08, 1999 1:21 pm

Richard Branson is not the CEO.
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RE: Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Wed Sep 08, 1999 2:18 pm

Captain Eddie, Juan Trippe, Herb, C.S. Smith are all up there I guess. In our part of the world Sir Reginald Ansett was a man far ahead of his time. Wily, cunning and a straight talker (led a brave campaign to try and stop his Female flight attendants from no longer having to retire from flying at the grand old age of late 20's with the line "My business customers do not want to be served dinner on the flight home after a hard day of work by old boilers"! Or along those lines anyway). Created a true transport/tourism empire with planes, express buses, touring buses, hotels, island resorts, rent-a-car, credit card company, insurance, freight, city to airport bus shuttles etc. At one time, one could plan a trip and everything you did on the trip was Ansett owned/operated.
Incensed at new vehicle prices that he needed to buy for ground operations, he bought a car dealership to access better deals for the company!
Fought the Government many times on an unfair playing field when they set up their own domestic airline as well having Qantas designated as the only International carrier. One of those characters who influenced many peoples travelling habits out of respect and the traditional Aussie habit of rooting for the underdog. Made lot's of enemies along the way, of course, but used resourcefulness, forward thinking and more than the odd dirty trick or two to keep his Ansett Airlines in the air. From a once a day trip in 1936 in a Fokker that he flew, he built Ansett into by far the largest airline in Australia (until the QF/TN merger takeover in the early 90's)
and unfortunately passed on before his greatest dream/desire/wish was fulfilled in seeing the Ansett name fly internationally. He used to fly from his estate on Melbourne's southern peninsula outskirts every morning in an Ansett helicopter to Head Office in the city.
I'm sure he's spinning in his grave at what Ansett has become under the leadership of the "money-moguls" and the selling off of nearly every Ansett asset that there was. The fact that he passed on within a couple of years of losing the battle to NewsCorp and TNT to keep control of Ansett is probably no conincidence.
Ansett could do a lot worse than name one of their fleet leading 744's as the
"Spirit of Sir Reg", even though they seem to carving a niche in our psyche that it is a new Ansett heading on a path totally distinct from the past.
Sorry for the long history lesson - but everyone knows about Trippe, Rickenbacker et al, and there were some other lesser knowns around the world that did as good a job in relative terms.

RE: Al

Wed Sep 08, 1999 3:09 pm

hey, thanks Al, that was a really cool insight into a true Aussie battler.


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Larry Gelwix

Wed Sep 08, 1999 3:24 pm

Larry Gelwix CEO, and Richard Winwood. They had such great ideas with WinAir. Both men were excelent leaders for WinAir. They ran an awesome airline.
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Gordon Bethune

Thu Sep 09, 1999 4:17 am

This is my nomination for several reasons. One, he was Program Director for the 757/767 lines at Boeing (he knows how to build airplanes). Two, he's rated on 757s and 767s (he knows how to fly airplanes). Three, he turned one of the crappiest airlines in the world to into one of the best within 6-7 years. CO will have an average fleet age of 7.6 years by the end of 1999, possibly the lowest in the US, and don't forget that all of this was accomplished in the most competitive airline market in the world (he knows how to run an airline). Show me a CEO with these three amazing capabilites and I'll consider him as well. Also, remember that the CEO's primary function is to deliver value to the shareholder. Day to day operations are typically handled by the President and/or Chief Operating Officer. So one must also look at share value when a CEO comes on board and compare that value when he resigns or is shoved out the plane. That's the true mark of a CEO's success or failure.

RE: Richard Branson

Thu Sep 09, 1999 1:32 pm

Well, researching into this matter Randolph Fields was rather... er... not good in presentations... he almost sunk the airline before it left the paper stage. Plus he wanted an all-business class airline. He was needless to say not happy when Richard wanted to have economy too... plus what in the heck does the world need another BA (British Atlantic). I love both BA and Virgin... although if forced w/ a decision i would fly BA for the FF miles  

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RE: Herb Kelleher

Thu Sep 09, 1999 2:05 pm

it has to be herb kelleher. his wife or exwife is my teacher
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Eddie Carlson

Thu Sep 09, 1999 2:31 pm

Eddie Carlson has to be THE greatest CEO of all times. He was so nice, and approachable, and easy to talk to...he cared about UA, the employees, and what advice they had for the company. He was great in the business aspect as well, bringing Hertz (Rent-a-car) and Westin Hotels and Resorts under the UAL INC. name.

He wasn't the typical "bean counter--no life--no personality" Jerry Greenwald, he wasn't the "my way or the highway" 'Wolfman'--Steven Wolf...he was just a great guy...

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RE: Who Are The Greatest CEOs?

Fri Sep 10, 1999 1:51 am

Gordon Bethune at CO wins hands down.

It is the greatest turnaround ever. Everything else involved with Texas Int'l/Lorenzo is dead and gone!.

It is unbelievable that he was able to resurect their image, attitude and performance as fast as he did and with as few resources (i.e. capital) as he did.
The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
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Fernando Flores

Fri Sep 10, 1999 11:44 am

I would have to say it is him because he made of Mexicana a whole new airline. A revised scheme, a new structure, new airplanes, he took Mexicana out of the hole! Viva Fernando Flores!!!
Lloyd Aereo Boliviano

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