Who the heck is Charles Bowers?
A former United Airlines executive with an extensive marketing and sales background is expected to be named the new trustee of Hawaiian Airlines, sources close to the situation said.
Christopher Bowers, a late addition in the trustee search, will be officially selected either today or tomorrow if his background check and other undisclosed logistical issues are resolved, sources said. He will replace former Liberty House executive John Monahan, who suddenly resigned last Tuesday after just 22 days on the job.
Monahan, who cited personal reasons, will continue in his current role until Bowers is in place. Sources have said Monahan is stepping down due to health reasons.
Bowers has knowledge of Hawaii's business operations through his previous role as United's senior vice president for North America and other positions. In December he was named senior vice president for sales and reservations. Prior to that, Bowers was in charge of the airline's marketing and sales. He retired from the company earlier this year. Bowers could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, in an April news release from United, Bowers talked glowingly of Hawaii when announcing a fare sale.
"Hawaii has universal appeal because of its physical beauty and wonderful ambience," Bowers said.
Sources said Bowers was a consensus selection of aircraft lessor Boeing Capital Corp. and the unsecured-creditors committee.
"He's very highly regarded in the industry," a source said. "He knows the business extremely well."
U.S. Trustee Steven Katzman, who is in charge of making the appointment, said yesterday he was making progress and that matters were being resolved. However, he declined to identify the candidate or offer any information about the individual.
"There is a stated preference by (Boeing Capital and the creditors committee), and I'm trying to accede to that stated preference," Katzman said. "One person appears to be fitting all the parameters."
But, Katzman added, "we have a contingency plan so we can expedite this as quickly as possible."
Hawaiian, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy on March 21, was forced into a trusteeship after Boeing Capital filed a motion accusing Hawaiian Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Adams of insider dealing and conflict of interest. After Boeing Capital, the creditors committee and the airline were unable to reach a compromise, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Faris ordered on May 16 that a trustee be appointed. Monahan was named to the position May 30.
Katzman originally had hoped to name a replacement for Monahan by Friday, but that decision was delayed as the U.S. Trustee's Office pored through the credentials of new candidates as well as the names of former applicants.
"What's holding up the process is that we're now working out the logistics with the person appointed so he can accept the appointment," Katzman said. "Making a decision as quickly as possible is important for the company, but, that said, we have to make sure the decision is the best one possible."
Bowers, who joined United in 1973 as air freight supervisor at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, was involved with various sales and marketing positions until 1995 when he was named senior vice president-international. He remained in that position for three years until taking on the position of senior vice president for North America in September 1998.
In 2001, Bowers joined the board of Orbitz Inc., an online travel company owned by major U.S. airlines, including United.
"Chris Bowers is a well-respected, savvy senior manager who understands the vital interdependence of our North American and international markets," Jerry Greenwald, United's former chairman and chief executive officer, said in a September 1998 press release. "He has been an invaluable member of the senior management team."