Shake Up At United Airlines
After Merger With Continental Airlines
July 28, 2010 - United Airlines has announced that John Tague, president of United Airlines, and Kathryn Mikells, chief financial officer, will leave the company following the close of its planned merger with Continental Airlines.
Additionally, United announced that Graham Atkinson, president of Mileage Plus and Rosemary Moore, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, also are leaving the company upon close of the merger.
?John's vision for what is possible and his ability to lead consistent performance improvement have changed the way we operate and transformed our competitive position and trajectory.? United Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton, who will become non-executive chairman of the new company, said:
?We are fortunate
at United to have built an exceptional management team, focused on
creating a strong company that will benefit our customers, our
shareholders and our people. We are doing that, and our full management
team will continue to execute against our performance agenda for the
next several months. On the occasion of the proposed merger with
Continental, this team that will leave the company following close does
so with the appreciation of our board, our colleagues and all our
stakeholders, for their significant contributions.?
United?s lead director who has served on the United board for 26 years,
noted that the leadership team Tilton put together at United shares a
commitment to returning United to industry leadership.
and ?can do? spirit of this management team helped to produce
breakthrough gains at United during one of the toughest periods in the
company's history. Never satisfied with the status quo, this team has
given all of us a glimpse of just how good we can become,? O?Connor
Tague joined the company in 2003 while United was restructuring under Chapter 11 protection as executive vice president of customer and has held several leadership positions, including chief operating officer. As president, he has P&L responsibility for the airline and has all airline management functions. Additionally, he has all revenue and customer responsibilities.
In the last year,
United has delivered a $1.2 billion revenue improvement, generated a
$750 million profit improvement, tightly managed its costs and increased
its margin by 16 points, delivering the industry?s leading profit margin
year to date. Since assuming his current responsibilities, United?s
customer satisfaction has improved by 70 percent domestically and
on-time performance has gone from worst to first -- United continues to
lead the network carriers in on-time performance, a position it held for
the full year 2009.
"John has played a
critical and unique role in the dramatic turnaround of United. To effect
the magnitude of change required to be successful, we have been unafraid
to challenge conventional wisdom and to be bold in our decisions -- and
John personifies those characteristics," Tilton said. "John's vision for
what is possible and his ability to lead consistent performance
improvement have changed the way we operate and transformed our
competitive position and trajectory."
?Without a doubt,
my time with United is my most professionally rewarding experience to
date. Being a member of the team that successfully led United through a
$23 billion restructuring provided me with a foundational experience to
build upon and help United achieve its potential. Receiving the mandate
to create a step change in United?s performance gave me the opportunity
to rethink the way we do business, drive systemic improvement and build
a phenomenal management team that is continuing to innovate and
delivering industry-leading results,? said Tague.
"With the proposed
merger with Continental, United will once again be the world's leading
airline, and we will have achieved what we set out to do for our people,
our investors, our customers and the communities we serve. This will be,
for me personally, the perfect time to move on to the next challenge in
my career, knowing that United is set on the best course for long-term
success and a strong future."
joined United in 1994 and has held numerous leadership positions. As
CFO, she oversees all corporate finance functions and also is
responsible for mergers and acquisitions, fleet planning, corporate
development and strategy and investor relations. She played a
significant role in United?s restructuring, helping to coordinate the
case, and as treasurer restructured the company?s debt portfolio and
ensured it had the financing needed to exit.
As the head of
investor relations, she helped reposition United with the financial
analysts and investors. She was named CFO when United faced significant
financial challenges, including high oil prices and dealing with the
effect of a devastating recession, and led the company?s efforts to
increase its cash, improve its hedge book, order new aircraft and
negotiate a merger with Continental.
become one of the best CFOs in any industry and has been my partner in
the pursuit and negotiation of the deal that delivered the best merger
partner, on the best terms, for our company. Kathryn?s considerable
skills are a perfect match to her role leading strategy work, which
included consolidation and risk management at United, and she drove the
extraordinary improvement in our liquidity position as we worked through
the financial crisis, including establishing the best fuel hedge book in
the industry,? Tilton said.
?In all of her
assignments, Kathryn has consistently performed at the highest level and
set the stage for those who followed her. She will play an important
role as we continue to improve our competitive position and in the
integration of our two companies through the steering committee.?
?I am proud to
have played a pivotal role in United?s extraordinary turnaround and the
merger that will create the world?s preeminent airline. I have always
been energized by the positive attitude of our management team,
especially during challenging times in our industry, and the finance
team is no exception,? Mikells said.
?From raising $4
billion in financings to supporting the work that has delivered the best
cost reductions in the business, the team has been focused on taking the
right actions to turn our performance around and our second quarter
results are the clear evidence of that work. I look forward to building
on the experiences of the last 16 years and take with me the strong
relationships developed with colleagues, investors and with the
financial community. I can?t imagine leaving on a higher note, and look
forward to the next chapter of my career.?
joined United in 1991 and has held key customer-facing leadership roles,
including senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Alliances, senior
vice president of International, senior vice president of Marketing, and
most recently president of Mileage Plus, where he is responsible for
developing Mileage Plus as a stand-alone business and ensuring that
United is well positioned to address the changing landscape of loyalty
programs and meet the needs of the company's most loyal customers.
?Graham has been a
passionate advocate for the voice of the customer at United. His breadth
of experience in all aspects of the customer proposition ? from
marketing, sales, the customer experience and loyalty programs ? has
been of great benefit to United as we have prioritized and repositioned
our customer focus,? said Tilton. ?In his role with our alliance
partners and in the development of our international business, Graham
has also been instrumental in building important relationships that have
afforded us the opportunity to grow our global presence with the best
partners in the industry.?
?United is a
dramatically different company today than it was even five years ago. We
have extended our network and our partnerships worldwide. We have
changed the way we sell our product, transforming our sales force and
delivery channels, and, most importantly, are putting the customer front
and center,? Atkinson said. ?We have built the industry?s best loyalty
program in Mileage Plus, which will only get better for our customers
upon our merger with Continental, extending earning and redeeming
Moore joined United in 2002, having worked with Tilton at Texaco and
ability to connect across constituents and leverage opportunities to
build relationships and further our business agenda and reputation has
done much to change the perception and credibility of our company,?
closely with Rosemary at Texaco and at Chevron after the merger, and
knowing her extensive experience in other industries with significant
challenges, she was my first hire at United, bringing with her
much-needed capability and sound judgment to our communications and
interactions with our key stakeholders. Rosemary played a key role as we
moved through our highly visible and complex restructuring, took on
tough industry issues that constrained our ability to meet our goals and
made equally tough decisions to transform our company.?
?There is no other industry that has the unique challenges of the airline industry and working with Glenn and the team to transform United and, at the same time, relentlessly press for industry reform, has been work I enjoy,? Moore said. ?There is nothing better than working on difficult issues with a great team, and it is terrific to see all that we have accomplished and go on to another opportunity to contribute.?
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