There was an excellent BusinessWeek article today about Glenn Tilton, United’s CEO. I highly recommend reading the whole article, but here’s the first paragraph:
It’s hard to find a chief executive more eager to dump his own company than UAL’s Glenn Tilton. For months now, airline CEOs have been playing the dating game, and Tilton seems to be most eager to tango. But the parent of United Airlines shouldn’t be sold merely because Tilton is itching to do a deal, or craves a big merger-related payday, or is plain tuckered out. Instead, the carrier’s board should take a more promising approach: Drop the merger talks and bring in a new CEO who’s committed to building a successful, stand-alone airline.
While this article does a good job of pointing out the issues with Tilton, I’m afraid I don’t see any hint that he’ll be leaving in the very near future. Unfortunately very few employees at United like Tilton, and many dislike him with a passion, to the point that it has totally destroyed employee morale. I actually have a lot of respect for some of United’s management (I won’t name names but there are certainly MANY great management people at United from my personal experience), and think overall they’re a pretty competent team. Furthermore I think United has some of the best employees in the world, but unfortunately many of them aren’t operating at their full potential since they see little reason to do so. Still, many employees give their all every single day, like Captain Denny Flanagan (for those not familiar with him, here he is featured on Good Morning America) and so many others at United.
Ultimately what scares me the most about the future of United is Tilton and his wet dreams about a merger. While I want to see United success, be it as a combined CO/UA airline, on its own, or as some other combination, I just don’t think Tilton has United’s best interest in mind.
I guess I’m still sitting here crossing my fingers that we’ll see a new CEO soon that can restore United into the great airline it once was (and in my opinion still is, but it’s just hiding;)), with 60,000 dedicated employees.