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United As Allegis Corp?

Thu Feb 03, 2000 2:44 pm

I was reading Hard Landing today and in one of the chapters it mentions that in 1987 Dick Ferris (then the CEO of United Airlines) wanted to change the official name of United Inc. to Allegis. He got this name from "allegiance" and from the Greek word "aegis" meaning protection. Most people of the time thought this was stupid and crazy. My question how long did this name stick? If anyone else has anything else to add about Dick Ferris or his "creative" name for United please explain, im having a hard time figuring out why he would this if the name was so strong.

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RE: United As Allegis Corp?

Fri Feb 04, 2000 9:52 am

Allegis was the name of the holding company of United, Westin Hotels, and I think Hertz. Ferris wanted to make Allegis a company that could handle your entire travel itenerary. He never intended to change the name "United" to "Allegis." Just the name of the holding company. This happened roughly 1985-1988.
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RE: United As Allegis Corp?

Fri Feb 04, 2000 11:22 am

Ferris was ahead of his time,it was a great idea. But at the time the stock was sagging,and people used his grand experiment as a scapegoat. If I remember correctly Donald Trump was a major shareholder at the time and also ridiculed the name.

Again,Mr. Ferris was ahead of head time.
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RE: United As Allegis Corp?

Fri Feb 04, 2000 1:05 pm

What a great book, huh? Should be prerequisite to posting here.

back to the topic, I think all of the above are true, and I'll add that United is and was even back then a global airline with a global image to maintain. When most of its Asian customers couldn't pronounce its name, (most Asian languages can't distinguish l's and r's) they knew they were in trouble. Especially because Northwest was a much easier to pronounce name.
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RE: United As Allegis Corp?

Fri Feb 04, 2000 3:16 pm

Yes now I rememberthat it was to be the title of the holding company. Does anyone know where Dick Ferris is today and what did he do after he was let go by United? Was he snapped up to run another airline or did he enjoy his retirement? Yes, D L X indeed it is a great book I have found myself rivoted to it since I started reading it.


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RE: United As Allegis Corp?

Fri Feb 04, 2000 11:55 pm

The whole Allegis fiasco I believe happened in late 1988-89. It was NOT a good idea. Basically United had been rolling up some big profits in the mid-80s. So, Ferris decided to take that money and create a travel company by buying Hertz and Hilton and adding them to Westin. However, this upset the United employees and was when the pilots first sought control of the airline. Think about it -- the airline made the money, but it was being used for other purposes. The employees wanted that money pumped back into United for expansion, aircraft purchases, etc. The Board soon realized the dissention and fired Ferris. Next, they had to get a CEO who would concentrate on building the airline and had a good reputation for dealing with unions. That's when Stephen Wolf was hired, who had good success with Flying Tiger and Republic. He quickly sold off all of the non-airline assets and focused on United. In October, 1990 alone he made big strides by buying Pan Am's London routes and launching the 777 program. Trump, by the way, was never a shareholder (at least not a significant one) of UAL stock. After Ferris was fired, he went into some joint ventures with his close friend Arnold Palmer (the golfer). They invested in some golf ventures, some Applebee's restaurants in the New England area and Ferris also runs Priester Aviation at Palwaukee Airport in the northern suburb of Palatine, IL. I assume he still lives in Northbrook, IL and is the CEO of Priester (which does business flying/services), but I haven't read about him in a few years. One of my friends actually went to high school with Ferris' son.

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