Airstud
Topic Author
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In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:04 pm

So, in anticimapation of my upcoming first CO flight, I bought "From Worst To First" by Gordon Bethune. Amazon told me I also ought to buy "Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines." I didn't buy it, but I read the customamer reviews and one of them lambasted the book as "Another labor bashing of Frank Lorenzo."

Never in my life have I ever heard anything positive said about Lorenzo; and in fairness the reviewer wasn't exactly lauding the guy, but he complains of bias as the author "paints an evil Frank Lorenzo and his henchmen cackling over a cauldron...thinking up ways to lie, cheat, and steal Eastern from the hearths of America" as well as how the "stalwart union defenders are given warm wonderful hearts and the purest of intentions."

I'm not an overall fan of modern unions either, but I am surprised to learn of the existence of a pro-Lorenzo side of the Eastern story. (I took EA a lot as a kid and we always got bumped because apparently EA had a policy of overbooking all of its flights by like 800 billion per cent, so I admit I cackled with schadenfreude when they went out of business. I was still a kid and I was sure that their demise was because they had caused me personal inconvenience.)

I thought the story was, Lorenzo was a |)!c|EA tanked; and CO had better luck.

What am I missing here?
Pancakes are delicious.
 
dispatcher
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:09 pm

All I know is that I work with a guy who if put into a locked room with the man, only one would come out.
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:13 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
always

100% of the time? Really?

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
800 billion per cent

A tad overexaggerated, wouldn't you say?
You can't cure stupid
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:14 pm

Quoting Dispatcher (Reply 1):
only one would come out.

Always amazes me he still walks the Earth.
You can't cure stupid
 
FI642
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:20 pm

Agreed, how he has escaped being "offed" by someone is a miracle.

When one thinks of the lives he damaged, It's just amazing.
737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
 
dhr
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:22 pm

I'll be game enough to say that I'm a supporter of Lorenzo and what he achieved, maybe not everything but at least 75%. I've got a copy of "Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines" and I remember the US aviation industry in the 80's in which unions literally controlled everything at an airline and bad management did its best to mis-manage airlines. Lorenzo was the only guy who had the balls to take them on and say enough is enough.

Now I'm sure I'm going to be blasted for this post from everyone, but thats my thoughts on the subject.  angel   Smile
 
MX757
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:38 pm

Quoting DHR (Reply 5):
Now I'm sure I'm going to be blasted for this post from everyone, but thats my thoughts on the subject.

I won't blast you; but Lorenzo did a lot more than just stand up to unions. You seem to think he is a stand up guy and if that is the case maybe you should do a little more research on the man.

Start with this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lorenzo
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
 
LASoctoberB6
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:49 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
n anticimapation

My new word...

Quoting MX757 (Reply 6):
but Lorenzo did a lot more than just stand up to unions.

I guess he couldn't stand up to the people he screwed over and decided to just disappear..
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wn676
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:00 am

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 2):
A tad overexaggerated, wouldn't you say?

No, that was a completely serious and factual statement.
Tiny, unreadable text leaves ample room for interpretation.
 
bobnwa
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:04 am

Quoting Wn676 (Reply 8):
No, that was a completely serious and factual statement.

That is a factual statement "800 billion per cent"?
 
Airstud
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:09 am

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 2):
Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
800 billion per cent

A tad overexaggerated, wouldn't you say?

OK, OK, it was more like 700.

That is, 700 QUADRILLION per cent.
Pancakes are delicious.
 
Analog
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:42 am

Quoting MX757 (Reply 6):

I won't blast you; but Lorenzo did a lot more than just stand up to unions. You seem to think he is a stand up guy and if that is the case maybe you should do a little more research on the man.

Start with this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_L...renzo

Okay... I'll start there. From that article:
  • He (and company) bought TI and turned it around (good).
  • He started NY Air. Non-union and hated by the ALPA (for being non-union?). Started to fail, and was acquired (saved?) by Lorenzo-owned CO.
  • Takeover of CO. Battled with unions over wages. Used bankruptcy to force concessions, but saved CO from total liquidation.
  • Tried to take over Frontier, but lost to PE.
  • Got Frontier and PE when they failed.
  • Merged the whole shebang into CO.
  • Took over a failing EA. Asks workers to take large pay cuts to save the airline. Fight!
  • Sells of pieces of EA to CO, etc.
  • Resulting conflict between labor and Lorenzo kills EA.
  • Sells CO to SAS after having trouble staying afloat. Debt from PE was a big problem.

Was his biggest sin trying to get large labor concessions to save EA, or was forcing the concessions using bankruptcy the bigger sin? The Wikipedia article (and EA, CO, etc. articles) are a bit weak on whether EA & CO would have been able to survive without Lorenzo (or other "savior").

I'm neither for or against Lorenzo, but it seems that a lot of what he is blamed for was really the effect of deregulation. He was just collecting victims of deregulation ("bargains") and milking them. The question I ask is, would EA, CO, etc. employees have been better off without him, or would they have lost their jobs in a Braniff-style bankruptcy & liquidation?
 
flyingcat
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:34 pm

Quoting Analog (Reply 11):
I'm neither for or against Lorenzo, but it seems that a lot of what he is blamed for was really the effect of deregulation. He was just collecting victims of deregulation ("bargains") and milking them. The question I ask is, would EA, CO, etc. employees have been better off without him, or would they have lost their jobs in a Braniff-style bankruptcy & liquidation?

What would CO be without Lorenzo. EWR certainly would be very different.

AA might not have had the chance to have MIA.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:56 pm

My observation from 56 years of life is that few people are totally evil, just as no people are completely good. Whenever anyone is as thoroughly and completely demonized as Frank Lorenzo has been I suspect that there must be more to the story. Certainly locking horns with unions is one of the best routes to demonization, and doing so successfully is absolutely guaranteed to do it. I have no first, second, or third-hand knowledge of what actually happened at his airlines, but I suspect that he did a lot of good for which he has not been credited, and probably did a lot of bad that is similarly unknown. The public image probably bears little resemblance to the real person.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
westindian425
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:02 pm

Quoting FI642 (Reply 4):
Agreed, how he has escaped being "offed" by someone is a miracle.

When one thinks of the lives he damaged, It's just amazing.

Well, he still travels on CO positive space. However, rumor has it he refuses any service for fear of what may be placed in his meals or drinks.
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
AirframeAS
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:17 pm

Quoting WestIndian425 (Reply 14):
Well, he still travels on CO positive space. However, rumor has it he refuses any service for fear of what may be placed in his meals or drinks.

Then why does he continue to fly on an airline that he nearly screwed?? It doesn't make sense.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
dtwclipper
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:17 pm



Quoting Analog (Reply 11):
He started NY Air. Non-union and hated by the ALPA (for being non-union?). Started to fail, and was acquired (saved?) by Lorenzo-owned CO.

1. We were not acquired by Continental, but folded into the company as NY was always part of the Texas Air Family.
2. Yes, we were picketed by ALPA because they were insecure about NY using non-union employees and shifting TI assets to the east coast.
3. I'm not sure we were failing at any point.


Frank gave a lot of people work at NY. We didn't care or know the politics involved, but wanted to be a part of the industry, so much so, that 25 years later we came together to remember the good times we had. Frank has a lot of enemies in the industry, but he found a very friendly audience at the NY reunion.



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Analog
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:21 pm

I was thinking about my comment about using bankruptcy to force wage/contract concessions. I agree that it's a pretty low thing to do, but is the unions' refusal to come to terms with Lorenzo would be just as bad, assuming that concessions were necessary for the airline to survive.

Quoting Flyingcat (Reply 12):

What would CO be without Lorenzo. EWR certainly would be very different.



Quoting WestIndian425 (Reply 14):
Well, he still travels on CO positive space. However, rumor has it he refuses any service for fear of what may be placed in his meals or drinks.

Except that CO would probably be worse off if not for Lorenzo. He may have killed EA, NY, TI , etc. to do it.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 13):
I suspect that he did a lot of good for which he has not been credited, and probably did a lot of bad that is similarly unknown.

I have a feeling that the bad does not go unnoticed. Lorenzo's detractors would probably do a good job of bringing any dirt to light. I don't see too many Lorenzo supporters around (I'm not one; I consider myself disinterested).
 
dtwclipper
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:24 pm

Quoting Analog (Reply 17):
He may have killed EA, NY, TI

NY was not "killed". We were folded into CO. TI wasn't killed either. IT took over CO and rebranded itself. Technicaly, Texas International WAS the surviving airline.
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
EWRCabincrew
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:01 pm

Quoting WestIndian425 (Reply 14):
However, rumor has it he refuses any service for fear of what may be placed in his meals or drinks.

I can tell you that he does eat and drink on his flights. Served him personally. All rumor.
You can't cure stupid
 
NIKV69
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:15 pm

Quoting DHR (Reply 5):
Lorenzo was the only guy who had the balls to take them on and say enough is enough.

My dad was an EAL employee and though I am not a fan of Frank Lorenzo he was not alone in his tactics in trying to get airlines to run at a much lower cost. Especially beginning the low cost craze.

You have to remember that airline employees were making very good money before the Unions were broken and people that were making great salaries and had benefits and pensions were basically asked to work for 8 bucks an hour with no medical and no pension. In fact I think that anyone outside of being a pilot is nuts to go to work in this business. Unless you can raise a family on what they pay. It's sad. Frank Lorenzo was an in your face kind of person who made it clear he didn't want Unions and wanted to save the airline using huge pay and perk cuts. When you play with people's lives it's never nice but I don't feel he was alone in the change over to the LCC and huge cuts and treatment of employees.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
N867BX
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:30 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
"Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines."

I have read that book and I don't think the book gives any credit to the real killer of Eastern. The real killer of Eastern was the IAM. While other unions were willing to accept wage concessions, the IAM asked for a wage INCREASE. The heavy handed stance taken by the IAM forced the sale of Eastern to Texas Air.
 
ptcflyer
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:02 pm

All I can say is that I flew Continental, People Express, Eastern Airlines, NY Air, and Frontier in various flavors around the US -- Australia -- Guam -- Bali -- New Zealand -- Tahiti -- Canada -- Alaska -- Europe -- Caribbean with very few dollars in my pocket. Even later used OnePass Miles earned during the Lorenzo years to fly on MAS to KL and South Africa a couple of times.

As a 20 something year old with a limited budget and a lot of patience willing to get bumped for free tickets, mine the cheap fares and take advantage of all of the crazy frequent flyer promotions...... Frank Lorenzo truly positively impacted my life in that I was able to see the world on a very tight budget. Could never replicate that experience today. I earned so may miles on PE, CO, EA during college that I was able to reward my parents with a trip to Australia for MY graduation!

Without Frank Lorenzo, and his aggressive efforts to create a low-fare extensive network -- I would not have experienced a fraction of the adventures in my life. These adventures -- enabled by TI and Frank Lorenzo -- defined many aspects of my life.

I recognize that my travels were heavily subsidized by the employees who worked for less than their desired wages and under less than ideal working conditions. While I took advantage of the travel opportunities, I was always thinking about how much appreciated the flight attendants, pilots, res agents, and all the support people who made my travel possible!

In many ways, Frank Lorenzo was a bold visionary. He was under tight timeframes to help very large, complex organizations improve their bottom lines for survival in an at the time -- hyper competitive industry -- and that absolutely conflicted with the employee's desires to maintain wages and work rules.
 
slider
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:57 pm

I know this may sound like heresy, but is what Lorenzo did any worse than what Steenland, Grinstein, Tilton, Parker, or scores of others have done? Honestly. Some act as Lorenzo is public enemy #1 because he was simply more active in doing what others later did, and being bold in what others have done to far worse degrees.

Besides, if anyone thinks Frank Lorenzo is evil, then they’ve never met Carl Icahn.
 
kanebear
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:16 pm

Regarding Frank Lorenzo... you have to pull some pretty grand stunts to have laws written A.) precluding an entire industry from utilizing tactics you invented/practiced and B.) precluding you from ever owning/running an airline again. I'm no union fan but Lorenzo basically abused bankruptcy protection to bust the unions, nothing more. He was not a negotiator. He wanted blood, and squeezed until he got the last drop. Modern day CEOs are nowhere NEAR as audacious as Lorenzo was. IMO they couldn't be... their boards would torpedo them long before they got that much done.

CO in 1991 was a very very very dark place to be/fly. Old broken planes, horrible dispatch reliability, disgruntled staff... at the time I was in school and shuttling between Texas and DCA.

I will note that unions can be pretty blinkered at times as well. Lorenzo made overtures at one point to TWA, but the unions preferred Carl Icahn and made special concessions to him to keep TW out of Lorenzo's hand. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire, in that way the unions did as much to kill TW as anyone else. Icahn definitely didn't help TW.

[Edited 2007-10-30 12:17:25]
 
rampart
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:31 pm

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 18):
Quoting Analog (Reply 17):
He may have killed EA, NY, TI

NY was not "killed". We were folded into CO. TI wasn't killed either. IT took over CO and rebranded itself. Technicaly, Texas International WAS the surviving airline.

TI begat CO, which was no longer the airline of Bob Six in Los Angeles and Denver. Texas Air CO begat EA and PE, and the culture and focus of the airline shifted further east. The CO of today probably has as much PE and NY as it has TI. So, the composition of the current airline has its roots with Lorenzo.

-Rampart
 
dhr
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:33 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 23):
I know this may sound like heresy, but is what Lorenzo did any worse than what Steenland, Grinstein, Tilton, Parker, or scores of others have done? Honestly. Some act as Lorenzo is public enemy #1 because he was simply more active in doing what others later did, and being bold in what others have done to far worse degrees.

Besides, if anyone thinks Frank Lorenzo is evil, then they've never met Carl Icahn.

I couldn't agree more, the only difference is that Lorenzo did it in public, and all of the unions got use to being the guys who called the shots. If it wasn't for Lorenzo you'd still have ridiculous high wages, un-productive workforce, most of the ex-Texas Air airlines would most likely have been liquidated, etc, etc, etc.

In my opinion EAL fell apart because of the unions and Borman, Lorenzo was called in as a bluff by Boreman (to scare the unions into labour cuts) in which Lorenzo played them both off against each other and won the airline in a bargain basement price. I mean the guy was paid $20 million to just provide a non-binding offer for EAL. In my view, he was a visionary.
 
Analog
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:18 pm

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 16):

1. We were not acquired by Continental, but folded into the company as NY was always part of the Texas Air Family.

Sorry. I mangled reality when paraphrasing Wikipedia.

Quoting Kanebear (Reply 24):
Regarding Frank Lorenzo... you have to pull some pretty grand stunts to have laws written A.) precluding an entire industry from utilizing tactics you invented/practiced

If the tactic was so bad, and he caused a law to be written against it, he did a good thing. Right?  Wink

Quoting Kanebear (Reply 24):
He was not a negotiator. He wanted blood, and squeezed until he got the last drop

He wanted money, as much of it as possible. That was his job, as well as a legal obligation to creditors and shareholders (including himself).

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 16):
3. I'm not sure we were failing at any point.

Is there any good source of info on the financial state of EA, CO, etc. at the times Lorenzo claimed that huge concessions were necessary? It's hard to judge his actions without this info.

Quoting DHR (Reply 26):
I couldn't agree more, the only difference is that Lorenzo did it in public, and all of the unions got use to being the guys who called the shots.

Perhaps the unions saw his actions as a very public threat. If he was allowed to succeed in creating a financially successful airline by forcing their hands, more airline executives would follow his lead. He had to be stopped.
 
copter808
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:38 am

Quoting WestIndian425 (Reply 14):
Well, he still travels on CO positive space.

Think he flies PS! at that. He was listed on a flight that I was going to take, but cancelled his listing before the flight left. Wasn't sure if I wanted to ride on that flight or not!
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:46 am

the old Frontier was also thrown into the mix, and alot of people in Denver i'm sure would like to reserve a special place in hell for Lorenzo for taking what was one of the best airlines in the west and turning it into an LCC. I heard once that after he acquired Frontier, with the intention of merging it into People Express, he started charging 50 cents for non-alcoholic beverages that on just about every other airline in the industry were free (even WN, the original LCC) and he started charging something like 5 dollars for meals. People started refusing to fly Frontier because of this, when they could fly UA and CO on the same routes for the same or only slightly higher fares and get free non-alcoholic beverages and meals. I think once he realized that this tactic was not going to work in Denver, he basically abandoned the airline, selling most of the assets (the 737s) to United, but keeping the MD-80s for Continental.

as for this comment.....

Quoting Slider (Reply 23):
Besides, if anyone thinks Frank Lorenzo is evil, then they’ve never met Carl Icahn.

welcome to my RU list.

slightly, or totally off topic, but, i saw a 60 minutes piece a while back on Icahn, it made my skin crawl. he now calls himself a "Shareholders Rights Activist." He admitted he likes to buy companies with alot of cash on their books and basically syphon off that cash and give it back to the shareholders, because he thinks the shareholders are much more entitled to it than the company. I can't remember how he put it, but i think the basic gist of it was that the cash belongs to the shareholders not the company and that he thinks they can do a much better job of managing it themselves than the company can. His attitude is he'd rather have that cash sit in the shareholder's bank account than the company's, and he wonders why everyone hates him. Actually, i think he honestly doesn't understand why everyone hates him, in his mind, he's doing a good thing.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
luv2cattlecall
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:10 am

Quoting N867BX (Reply 21):
I have read that book and I don't think the book gives any credit to the real killer of Eastern. The real killer of Eastern was the IAM. While other unions were willing to accept wage concessions, the IAM asked for a wage INCREASE. The heavy handed stance taken by the IAM forced the sale of Eastern to Texas Air.

That sounds more like the real story

Quoting Ptcflyer (Reply 22):
recognize that my travels were heavily subsidized by the employees who worked for less than their desired wages

I don't know that they were "heavily subsidised..." That would be alot like saying a $.99 order of fast food fries were subsidized by the workers making minimum wage. Slavery ended years ago - no one is forcing anyone to work at an airline.

Quoting Slider (Reply 23):
know this may sound like heresy, but is what Lorenzo did any worse than what Steenland, Grinstein, Tilton, Parker, or scores of others have done?

Lorenzo spent more time doing his deed than trying to put out an "innocent" image like the Steenlands of the world, and in my book, that makes him a tad better.
.
 
Analog
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:55 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 29):
He admitted he likes to buy companies with alot of cash on their books and basically syphon off that cash and give it back to the shareholders, because he thinks the shareholders are much more entitled to it than the company

Shareholders do come first (after legal obligations, secured creditors, etc.). If it's obvious that the best ROI can be gained by liquidation (as opposed to using assets to keep the company afloat), isn't it the management's obligation to take that path?

Take the absurd example of a publicly traded company guarding a huge pile of their own diamonds. Employees work to support the storage of the carbon. Other than a few incidental sales, the company exists for the diamonds,
A new manager's first job would be to sell the diamonds and liquidate the company.
 
dispatchguy
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:13 pm

Wasnt Frank Lorenzo deemed by the US DOT to be no longer fit to run an airline; he tried to be a part of a start up maybe 10 or so years back, and ALPA threw it in his face.
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
westindian425
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:25 am

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 19):
I can tell you that he does eat and drink on his flights. Served him personally. All rumor.

Flew with a CA who did a stint as an FA just after 9/11 because of all the furloughs and one trip, Lorenzo was on one of his flights. He went to do a service and upon approaching him, Lorenzo cringed and refused a service. His words, not mine. However, all rumor like you said.

Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 32):
Wasnt Frank Lorenzo deemed by the US DOT to be no longer fit to run an airline; he tried to be a part of a start up maybe 10 or so years back, and ALPA threw it in his face.

That's correct. I've been hearing of him being part of management in an international airline, though. I found nothing to substantiate it, though.
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
contrails
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:17 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):

Never in my life have I ever heard anything positive said about Lorenzo

Add Carl Ichan to the the category of people for whom there's not much positive to say.
Flying Colors Forever!
 
Falcon84
Posts: 13775
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:52 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
"Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines." I didn't buy it, but I read the customamer reviews and one of them lambasted the book as "Another labor bashing of Frank Lorenzo."

I read it, and I agree. It was completely one-sided. However, Frank in the chair of the CEO was NOT a nice man, and he was as cut-throat as they came. He was not totally at fault for EA's demise, but he certainly cannot be exhonerated, either, because he set up the fall of EA. The Unions just happened to play right into his plans.

Quoting DHR (Reply 5):
I'll be game enough to say that I'm a supporter of Lorenzo and what he achieved, maybe not everything but at least 75%. I've got a copy of "Grounded - Frank Lorenzo and the Destruction of Eastern Airlines" and I remember the US aviation industry in the 80's in which unions literally controlled everything at an airline and bad management did its best to mis-manage airlines. Lorenzo was the only guy who had the balls to take them on and say enough is enough.

I worked for the guy as a CO employee. He didn't do this out of any chivalrous attempt to redo the airline business. Everything he did was to enrich himself. He is a brilliant financial mind, and I'm convinced had he wanted to turn his energies toward truly building an airline into something special, he would have done it.

What he achieved was the following: 1. The destruction of Eastern Airlines; 2. The insolvency of Continental Airlines, which didn't abate till after he was gone. 3. An attempt to break Unions in a way that is not even allowed any more, so over-the-top it was, when he did it in 1983. He left nothing as a positive legacy in my mind. He made people who worked for him scared and miserable. That was his legacy. Fortunately, the legacy for CO did not become that of EA because of Bethune and Brenneman, and their want to make a first-rate airline. They, not Lorenzo, are the ones who achieved something. Lorenzo just became rich.

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 19):
I can tell you that he does eat and drink on his flights. Served him personally. All rumor.

What's he like when serving him?

I ask, because years ago, I was working a CLE-DEN flight. Lorenzo was on it, with a F/C seat. An elite member came up, and all I had left was a middle seat in Row 5. Lorenzo happened to be nearby, and offered his F/C seat in exchange for 5E. The customer, after he got the F/C seat, asked me "Is THAT who I think it is?" And I said "Yes, it is, and I'm as stunned as your are!". Totally against his public persona.

Quoting N867BX (Reply 21):
I have read that book and I don't think the book gives any credit to the real killer of Eastern. The real killer of Eastern was the IAM.

Again, I give equal blame to Lorenzo and the IAM. Charlie Bryan was just like Lorenzo. Stubborn and greedy, and he could never keep his word. He and Frank together destroyed EA. And yet some former EA schmucks STILL think of Bryan as some kind of saint. He wasn't. He was just like Frank.

Quoting Ptcflyer (Reply 22):
Frank Lorenzo truly positively impacted my life in that I was able to see the world on a very tight budget.

That's all well and good, but your positive impact was made on the backs of employees who worked for next-to-nothing, and were made the fall-guys for Lorenzo's antics. I know customers don't give a rats' ass what employees make, but those cheap fares nearly drove the airlines under, and hurt a lot of good, honest people, trying to make a decent living. He had far more of a negative impact on lives than he did positive.

Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 32):
Wasnt Frank Lorenzo deemed by the US DOT to be no longer fit to run an airline; he tried to be a part of a start up maybe 10 or so years back, and ALPA threw it in his face.

Correct. Although no one will EVER convince me he didn't have a hidden hand in old ValueJet. All his old cronies, like Lewis Jordan, Joe Corr and Tommy Kalil were running ValuJet when the Everglades crash occurred. And that airline was run on the cheap, just like old CO was. I'm convinced Lorenzo was hidden in there somewhere.
Work Right, Fly Hard
 
commavia
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:44 pm

Well, I'll interject just briefly my thoughts on the subject, as others have seem to be much more knowledgeable, and passionate, than me.

Let me begin by saying that I don't necessarily endorse Lorenzo's methods or practices, per se, in any way, shape or form. What he did was, at the least, extremely rough and ruthless, and the worst, criminal, depending on who you ask.

However, that being said, I must agree with what a few others have mentioned here, perhaps not directly in his defense, but merely as general observations about his true legacy looking back now with the 20/20 hindsight and retrospect that several decades can bring:

First and foremost, I don't think anyone could argue that - for better or worse - he was way ahead of his time. Indeed, of all of the airline leaders of the outrageously tumultuous 1980s period immediately proceeding deregulation, the only two others who I think rival Lorenzo in their sheer visionary ability to foresee future trends are Crandall and Kelleher. Lorenzo, as others have said, foresaw exactly what has now become commonplace in the post-9/11, bankruptcy-dominated airline world: increasingly, management really just loses all patience with labor and completely circumvents the normal management-labor relationship channels to get what they want. It is true that Lorenzo used bankruptcy as a lever to force steep concessions from labor but, at the same time, being fair, it has to be recognized that in that respect, he was doing exactly what so many after him would do, just more publicly and, for the first time, really.

Secondly, I think Lorenzo also deserves at least some credit for recognizing - early on - the value of bridging the gap between the "legacy" mainline carriers (though they weren't called that back then) and the low-fare airlines. His experience in Texas with Texas Air, and of course the ever-present and ever-innovative low-fare competition from Southwest, gave him the opportunity to see first hand what we all now know, looking back, was the future of aviation: cheap, cheap, cheap. Low fares today are the single most important determinant of air travel buying, and Lorenzo recognized this early on which led to several - for their time - substantial innovations like Peanut Fares, etc. (Others like Crandall and AA also deserve credit, of course, for their respective innovations like SuperSaver, etc., but nonetheless.)

So, in summary, I'm not saying Lorenzo was a terrific man, nor that he was a horrible man. I think the reality is that he was absolutely out for the money - like so many before and since - but he just did it better than most, which is why he pissed so many people off. He spearheaded a cataclysmic revolution in the evolution of management-labor relations in this industry, the reverberations of which are still being felt nearly 30 years later. He also recognized the value of offering a comprehensive, nationwide network, utilizing hubs, but also ensuring that the concept of low costs, that were passed on to consumers in the form of low fares, wasn't lost in the haze. It is this almost singular emphasis on continually and ritualistically lowering costs, at any well, cost, for lack of a better word, that may ultimately be his final legacy. For better or worse - it must be said that Lorenzo's strict attention to cost foreshadowed the near obsession with cost that now pervades, understandably, ever corner of this industry.
 
LMP737
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:26 pm

If one is looking to read a book that I guess gives a preety good history of EAL and Lorenzo is Hard Landing. While he did have a gift for making money it's the way he went about it and the way he managed his companies that did him in. The one thing that stands out in my mind is what one of his right hand men said about mangement style. He stated that Frank Lorenzo would only enough information he felt necessary, only he had the big picture. Not exactly the best way to run things. Another one said he had a habit of making promises to people and not carrying them through.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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czbbflier
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:46 am

Before sharing my 2 cents worth... If there's one thing we can all agree on.... Frank Lorenzo was a lightning rod for all sorts of things. You either loved him or you hated him.

My experinces with CO in the late 1980s were not good. I worked in YOW for WD- Wardair was contracted to handle CO in YOW. As an involved outsider and at the operations level, I found CO's quality of service, morale of crews, and safety of aircraft to be questionable at best.

Flight crews were not allowing their own families to fly using family passes on CO aircraft-- and to have seen the number of little yellow "INOPERATIVE" tape strips across gauges, switches and dials in the DC-9 cockpits I can honestly tell you that I wasn't surprised. I was in no hurry to take the offered fam flight to IAD. Let's just say that what the public didn't know, never hurt them....

What I understand about Lorenzo's dispicable business practices was that he would use the capital in an airline as collateral to purchase the airline. Then there would be no available equity to finance new aircraft or available credit for day-to-day operations. Many other airlines quickly learned from his stupid antics or else they would have followed down the same road at their peril.

Deregulation or not, one simply doesn't operate a capital-intensive business in that fashion. That Lorenzo thought he could, on the scale that he tried, was demonstrative of a shortsightedness, colossal ego and arrogance beyond compare.

Strong opinions? You bet. Flame me if you want. I still get tense (and intense) when I think of what he did to Eastern, Western, Frontier, New York Air, Continental and any other airline that had been a product of love and devotion of their founders, previous owners, and employees. I am still that angry about the mess he created.

Two stories to demonstrate the visceral reaction I feel for Lorenzo's project:

I once had to go pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken from off-airport because the 17:30pm YOW-IAD flight hadn't been catered out of IAD on its inbound flight as it should have been. The F/As were beside themselves in frustration, embarrassment and panic from the fear of the 30 hungry pax about to board- and having no meals to serve. I'll never forget the looks of profound relief and complete joy on their faces when they saw me carrying barrels of KFC and coleslaw onboard!

I recall a night in February when, before calculating a stiff windchill, the temperature was minus 20c (0F) and our local Hudson General mechanic was out on the tarmac changing brake pads because the last departure city, EWR at the time, apparently didn't do brakes- or so we learned later. He risked life and limb as a mechanic- hypothermia and frostbite- when it was completely unnecessary.

Airline mergers are never easy or simple. Labour strife is almost inevitable. Add the complete insensitivity Lorenzo had for the 'families' that airline comeraderie creates, the financial woes he created when he bought five airlines and then sucked the life-blood out of them, you have the recipe for strong opinions.

You know mine and I didn't even work for him directly. I know there are hundreds or thousands who would agree with me but who, because of Lorenzo, lost the love of airlines, found new vocations, and are simply not in or near the industry to stand up to be counted.

I thank all those who stood up to him. I congratulate all those who survived him. History may have been kind to Lorenzo but in the day-to-day battles he created, it was trench warfare in a civil-war sort of way, for every person who worked for him and to me he will never, ever, be anything more than the airlines' version of the Anti-Christ that he was in the 1980s.

Man, I hope I'm not hurting anybody's feelings here. But it's how I feel and how I have felt for 20 years.

Labour issues? Probably. Insufficient budgets and the worst airline ownership/stewardship in North American history? Most definitely.

Okay. I'm done. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I actually feel better now. I might even be able to kick the prozac.  zzz 
 
iceberg210
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:22 am

I've read both "From Worst to First" and "Grounded" and while both great books and important reads for anyone who wants to know about Lorenzo's impact on the industry I will admit especially Grounded was fairly one sided.

However the fact remains that Lorenzo was not a great saint of the industry or even a good CEO. A sign of a great leader is one who is willing to compromise for the good of the company (Bryan lies at fault here as well) and not one who let's their ego get in the way. Lorenzo was the kind of person that would stop at nothing and in his quest to break the unions at all costs he decided his ego was more important than a once great airline.

For example he kept syphining off money, resources and airplanes from Eastern and sending them to Continental every time the unions didn't bow to his every command. Now while some buisness cases can be made he deliberately at times made Eastern's life tougher so that he could have more leverage with the unions. He also via his strategies and managing style pressured the pilots to make trips even when there were maintinance concerns on the aircraft which is no good for anyone no matter how much money might be saved. For him to be all but banned from operating an airline in the US says a lot to the man's character and also the risk that he poised to the passengers riding on his airlines.

Although not the devil Lorenzo was no good for the industry and left multiple failed airlines in his dust and almost led to the demise of Continental. If it weren't for Gordon coming in as the savior of CO the airline would be no more.

I've heard Lorenzo refered to as "He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named" (aviation style) but I don't think that is really fair. Was he good for the industry, no. Was he good for the airlines, no. Does that make him the devil, no.

While Lorenzo did some very destructive things to the airline industry he may well be a nice guy who like all of us can fall (and did fall) into thinking to much of himself and causing a self proclaimed crusade against all that disagreed with him on how to run an airline.

Thanks for reading my long and lengthy post.

Erik Berg
Erik Berg (Foster's is over but never forgotten)
 
dispatchguy
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:41 pm

Dont mean to go OT, but Lorenzo flying on his old carrier (and being timid about receiving service) reminded me of this:

I used to work at the Operations Center for UA. One night, when I was working the IAD B777 pilot crew desk, word came up that Stephen Wolf (US CEO/Ex UAL CEO) was on a IADCDG B777 flight. Since it was a B777, IADMM was doing up the ETOPS predeparture checks, and magically low and behold, the first airplane failed the ETOPS check. Swap airplanes, and airplane 2 was coming up with some minor items, but they would take time to fix.

I gave the operations controller the drop dead time for the original flight crew, and since this was Summer of 2000, I had no spare crews to re-crew the flight if we had to, it is original crew by the drop dead, or we delay the flight for them to become re-legal.

IADMM is crawling as slow as possible to accomplish the ETOPS predeparture check, and lo and behold, the crew times out.

5 mins later, the ETOPS Predeparture check is completed and the airplane is given a clean bill of health. There was absolutely nothing wrong with either airplane, but IADMM was showing their complete level of scathing to Mr Wolf.

Since he was bigman at USAir at the time, I never understood why he wasnt flying them to CDG, unless he was hated on the line there as well. This was also when all the UA/US merger stuff was going on.
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
dtwclipper
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:00 pm

Quoting Czbbflier (Reply 38):
what he did to Eastern, Western, Frontier, New York Air,

What exactly did Lorenzo do to Western?

Now, New York Air is another story....what exactly is your problem with that?
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
Orion737
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:49 pm

I think Lorenzo was a gent compared to the monster that is MOL.
 
jfk777
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:50 pm

There is a difference in using post 9/11 tactics with unions for the airline and everyone's job to survive or doing what Lorenzo did just to win a war with Charles Bryan head of the Eastern Machinist union in Miami. Lorenzo was a devil and the worst person ever to head an airline in post-deregulation America. He should have been put in jail with the rats. He sold his stake for $20,000,000 to SAS and retired to his summer home in Martha's Vineyard.
 
Orion737
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:59 pm

Who would you rather have Lorenzo or that foul mouthed MOL? Hard choice that.
 
jfk777
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:52 pm

Quoting Orion737 (Reply 42):
I think Lorenzo was a gent compared to the monster that is MOL.



Quoting Orion737 (Reply 44):
Who would you rather have Lorenzo or that foul mouthed MOL? Hard choice that.



Quoting Orion737 (Reply 42):
I think Lorenzo was a gent compared to the monster that is MOL.

To my British friends,

WHOM is MOL ? Not Freddie Laker, so who is the bum?
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:29 pm

Quoting MX757 (Reply 6):
Start with this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_L...renzo

Excellent place to start...not.

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 18):
NY was not "killed". We were folded into CO. TI wasn't killed either. IT took over CO and rebranded itself. Technicaly, Texas International WAS the surviving airline.

Never looked at it like that. Like one time I got into this big argument with this guy when I told him that valuJet is still alive and well...
What gets measured gets done.
 
Orion737
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:31 pm

Michael O Leary the rather arrogant boss of Ryanair. He loves to be hated, apparently.
 
dtwclipper
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:45 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 46):
Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 18):
NY was not "killed". We were folded into CO. TI wasn't killed either. IT took over CO and rebranded itself. Technicaly, Texas International WAS the surviving airline.

Never looked at it like that. Like one time I got into this big argument with this guy when I told him that valuJet is still alive and well...

The difference being is very simple. Valuejet and Airtran were to seperate companies. NY was from the start a part of the Texas Air Corp "family" and was really just folded into Continental. We were really "sister" airlines from the start.
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
rampart
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RE: In Praise Of...Frank Lorenzo?!?

Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:13 pm

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 41):
What exactly did Lorenzo do to Western?

I have a vague recollection that Texas Air was trying to acquire Western at one point, before they went for CO. Roughly the same time, CO and WA were talking possible merger. I don't recall what sort of effect this had on WA, and it was later that DL merged with WA. This was the beginning of the first consolidation wave, following PA and National. Can anyone refresh my memory?

-Rampart